Constraining Holocene sea levels using U‐Th ages of phreatic overgrowths on speleothems from coastal caves in Mallorca (Western Mediterranean)

Paola Tuccimei
Michele Soligo
Joaquin Ginés

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Phreatic overgrowths on speleothems (POS) are carbonate formations deposited at the water table of caves in unique karstic coastal settings having morphologies that can be directly related to sea level at the time of formation. The U‐Th ages of calcite and aragonite overgrowths collected from the modern water table in coastal caves on Mallorca (Cova de Cala Varques A and Cova des Pas de Vallgornera) were determined using high‐precision MC‐ICPMS techniques. U‐Th ages indicate that phreatic carbonate deposition occurred between ca 2·8 and at least 0·6 ka BP and are in accord with an archeologically estimated age of 3·7–3·0 ka BP for a drowned prehistoric construction at a depth of 1 m below current sea level in a cave from the same area. Speleothem δ13C and δ18O and chemical composition of cave pools provide supportive evidence that POS reflect mixing between seawater and brackish water table. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.