U-Th or radiocarbon dating methods–key methods which are currently being used - have significant analytical limitations in modern speleothems.
For U-Th dating, there is typically insufficient ingrowth of the daughter nuclide .
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.
This is of particular relevance to mediterranean regions that display strong seasonal controls on PCP, due to seasonal variability in water availability and cave-air p CO century.
Well-defined peaks in soil-derived trace elements and simultaneous decreases in growth-rate coincide with extreme annual rainfall totals in 19. We also find that bedrock-derived elements that are dominated by PCP processes, reflect a well-known period of drying in southwest Australia which began in the 1970’s.
First, the limitations in dating modern stalagmites are overcome by refining a dating method that uses annual trace element cycles.
Further, using the annually-resolved chronology, we examine the trace element and growth-rate data in one stalagmite and compare it to the known history of environmental change and instrumental climate during the 20 century.
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.
Speleothems from regions with strong seasonality, such as mediterranean climates, are more likely to preserve annual geochemical information.