Testing the annual nature of speleothem banding
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Speleothem laminae have been postulated to form annually and this lamina-chronology is widely applied to high-resolution modern and past climate reconstructions. However, this argument has not been directly supported by high resolution dating methods. Here we present contemporary single-lamina 230Th dating techniques with 2σ precision as good as ±0.5 yr on a laminated stalagmite with density couplets from Xianren Cave, China, that covers the last 300 years. We find that the layers do not always deposit annually. Annual bands can be under- or over-counted by several years during different multi-decadal intervals. The irregular formation of missing and false bands in this example indicates that the assumption of annual speleothem laminae in a climate reconstruction should be approached carefully without a robust absolute-dated chronology.
Scientific Reports, Vol. 3, no. 2633 (2013).
Shen, Chuan-Chou; Lin, Ke; Duan, Wuhui; Jiang, Xiuyang; Partin, Judson W.; Edwards, R. L.; Cheng, Hai; and Ming, Tan, "Testing the annual nature of speleothem banding" (2013). KIP Articles. 4886.