Over the last two decades, speleothems have become widely utilized records of past environmental variability, typically through their stable isotopic and trace elemental chemistry. Numerous speleothem researchers have identified evidence of flooding recorded by detrital layers trapped within speleothems, but few studies have developed paleoflood reconstructions from such samples. Because they can be precisely dated, are generally immune to post-depositional distortion or erosion, and can be tied to a fixed elevational baseline, speleothems hold enormous potential as high-resolution archives of cave floods, and thus as proxies for extreme rainfall or other hydrologic drivers of cave flooding. Here we review speleothem-based paleoflood reconstruction methods, identify potential biases and pitfalls, and suggest standard practices for future studies.
Quaternary Science Reviews – Elsevier
Published: Aug 15, 2017
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