Speleothems as palaeoclimate indicators, a case study from Soreq Cave located in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, Israel

  • Miryam Bar-Matthews
  • Avner Ayalon
Part of the Developments in Paleoenvironmental Research book series (DPER, volume 6)

The best available global climate information covering the last few thousand years is that obtained from the marine record, which averages worldwide effects of temperature and ice volume change, and is only marginally influenced by the localised climate changes that occur in areas less than continental in size. Consequently one of the key questions in palaeoclimate study is to understand climate changes occurring on land, and the sea-land relationships. Continental palaeoclimates have been studied using a variety of approaches such as geomorphological analyses, lake levels, archaeological studies, and pollen studies (e.g., Street and Grove (1976), Cerling et al. (1989), Gasse et al. (1990), Rossignol-Strick (1995), Weiss (2000), Magri et al. (this volume), Roberts et al. (this volume)). Recently there has been an increased interest in using the oxygen and carbon isotopic composition of speleothems as a climate proxy, because these isotopic compositions provide climate information, and U - series isotope dates give accurate chronological information. The study of the isotopic composition of speleothems has been performed throughout the world in different climatic zones in the northern hemisphere, the tropics, the Mediterranean, and the southern hemisphere (e.g., Dorale et al. (1992, 1998), Holmgren et al. (1995), Ayliffe et al. (1998), Burns et al. (1998, 2001), Bar-Matthews et al. (1999, 2000), Denniston et al. (1999), Frumkin et al. (1999), Lauritzen and Lundberg (1999), McDermott et al. (1999), Williams et al. (1999), Musgrove et al. (2001)).

In this paper we integrate studies of the present-day parameters such as average cave and air temperature, rainfall amount and its isotopic composition, the isotopic composition of the sea-surface source, and of the host rock and soil, in order to understand how the isotopic composition of speleothems recorded palaeoclimate conditions during the last 185 kyr.

Keywords

Uranium Calcite Dolomite Straw Strontium 

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Copyright information

© Springer 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Miryam Bar-Matthews
    • 1
  • Avner Ayalon
    • 1
  1. 1.Geological Survey of IsraelIsrael

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