Mass spectrometric dating of flowstones from Stump Cross Caverns and Lancaster Hole, Yorkshire: Palaeoclimate implications

Andy Baker, Peter L. Smart, R. Lawrence Edwards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations

Abstract

A terrestrial flowstone sequence 97 cm thick from Stump Cross Caverns, Yorkshire, has been dated by both mass spectrometric and alpha spectrometric 238U-234U-230Th dating, and is demonstrated to have been deposited predominantly during interstadial periods over the last 170ka, with no growth in periods of glaciation or within the Oxygen Isotope Stage 5 interglacial. Growth also occurs within Oxygen Isotope Stages 4 and 6, the former possibly correlating with interstadials recognised in high-resolution ice and ocean-core records. Comparison with the timing of growth of a mass spectrometrically dated Lancaster Hole flowstone, also from the same region, demonstrates only limited agreement. These differences are due to two factors limiting deposition at Stump Cross: flooding of the cave passage in warm periods, and the development of continuous permafrost or glacier cover in periods of severe climatic deterioration. Deposition at Lancaster Hole was controlled by limitations in ground-water supply rather than flooding of the cave passage. The results presented here demonstrate that in addition to regional palaeoclimate factors, local site conditions may limit speleothem growth. We conclude that in future palaeoclimate studies, the growth record from several coeval speleothem samples must be considered before a regional palaeoclimate interpretation can be made.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-114
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Quaternary Science
Volume11
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996

Keywords

  • Flowstone growth phases
  • Mass spectrometric uranium-series dating
  • Palaeoclimate
  • Speleothems
  • Stump Cross Caverns

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