Late Quaternary paleotemperatures derived from a speleothem from Cango Caves, Cape Province, South Africa

Alternative Title

Quaternary Research


Link to Full Text

Download Full Text

Publication Date


Volume Number


Issue Number



An oxygen isotope temperature record over a large part of the past 30,000 yr has been obtained for the southern Cape Province of South Africa by combining data on the isotopic composition of a stalagmite from a deep cave with that of a confined groundwater aquifer in the same region. Results show that temperatures during the last glacial maximum were on average about 6°C lower than those today, with peaks up to 7°C lower. A detailed analysis of the past 5000 yr suggests multiple fluctuations, with generally lower temperatures (1–2°C) around 4500 and 3000 yr B.P. The carbon isotopic composition of the stalagmite indicates significant vegetation changes between the late Pleistocene and today, and also during the second half of the Holocene.

Document Type


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)