Dating of speleothems

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suggests the need to validate the stalagmite record, using cave monitoring and modern stalagmites.Cave monitoring allows us to determine the sensitivity of dripwater hydrochemistry by comparing it with; rainfall, temperature, cave p CO century) stalagmite record with historical data, however, requires accurate and precise age constraints.Figure composed using ESRI Arc GIS v10.2 software ( and data based on Bureau of Meterology century based on records held by the Department of Parks and Wildlife in Western Australia.

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For example, variations in Mg can be affected by both PCP and aerosol deposition of Mg from sea spray.

However, if multiple trace elements are used and a process-based understanding of the variations within stalagmites are applied, then we may derive a more confident chronology.

Specifically, we examine the impact of fire, cyclones and a drying climate and highlight the applicability of using annual cycles to build chronologies in regions with a mediterranean climate.

We used three stalagmites from different caves with varying depths in south-western Australia: Moondyne Cave (30 m deep), Yonderup Cave (4 m deep) and Labyrinth Cave (35 m deep). Moondyne and Labyrinth caves are approximately 300 m apart and lie within the Leeuwin Naturalist National Park, south of Perth, while Yonderup Cave lies in Yanchep National Park, north of Perth (Fig. All caves are formed within the Tamala Limestone, a porous partially lithified calcareous dune sand.

It may result in a more precise chronology if annual growth increments are resolvable and provided that there are no interruptions to growth in the record.

In speleothems, these annual layers can be obtained from visible growth intervals.The RMC is the cumulative sum of the monthly anomaly from the pre-1970 (dry period) mean.This is used to generate a time series of cumulative potential water surplus or deficit starting from 1900, highlighting above average or below average P – AET.If the lamina counting method is coupled with two chronological tie points, such as the date that an actively growing sample is collected and the age of an artificial substrate on which a speleothem has grown, the chronological accuracy of the lamina counting method can be tested.In this study, we exploit seasonal variations in trace elements to construct chronologies.The karst formation process is “syngenetic”; as karstification occurs during lithification of the host rock.Above Moondyne and Labyrinth caves is a Karri (Eucalyptus diversicolor) forest, and above Yonderup Cave is one of the last remaining Tuart (Eucalyptus gomphocephala) forests worldwide. The southwest region has a mediterranean climate with dry hot summers and colder wet winters and an average annual temperature of 15.1 °C.Moondyne Cave and Labyrinth Cave in the south receive an annual rainfall of 962 mm, while Yonderup Cave in the north receives an annual rainfall of 797 mm (Table 1).Geographic location of cave sites Yonderup Cave, Labyrinth, Moondyne Cave, and Golgotha Cave relative to Perth, and the regional rainfall isohyets in mm, with the mediterranean climate zone being between the coast line and the 600 mm isohyet line.Thus far, such methods have relied on one trace element with presumed annual cyclicity to construct a chronology.However, the use of one element alone may not be reliable, as the process that causes a smoothly varying annual signal may be confounded by additional processes.


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