The trace elements analysed included: 1) bedrock derived elements (Mg, Ba, Sr and U); 2) soil-derived metals typically mobilised as organo-metal complexes or soil bound colloids.Further, using the annually-resolved chronology, we examine the trace element and growth-rate data in one stalagmite and compare it to the known history of environmental change and instrumental climate during the 20 century.Specifically, we examine the impact of fire, cyclones and a drying climate and highlight the applicability of using annual cycles to build chronologies in regions with a mediterranean climate.We used three stalagmites from different caves with varying depths in south-western Australia: Moondyne Cave (30 m deep), Yonderup Cave (4 m deep) and Labyrinth Cave (35 m deep). Moondyne and Labyrinth caves are approximately 300 m apart and lie within the Leeuwin Naturalist National Park, south of Perth, while Yonderup Cave lies in Yanchep National Park, north of Perth (Fig. All caves are formed within the Tamala Limestone, a porous partially lithified calcareous dune sand.It may result in a more precise chronology if annual growth increments are resolvable and provided that there are no interruptions to growth in the record.
For example, in southwest Australia, which is the focus of this study, seasonal water availability and in-cave processes have been shown to produce seasonality in dripwater composition as a key control on ion/Ca ratios such as Mg/Ca, Sr/Ca, Ba/Ca and U/Ca in southwest Australian dripwaters and stalagmite chemistry.
If the lamina counting method is coupled with two chronological tie points, such as the date that an actively growing sample is collected and the age of an artificial substrate on which a speleothem has grown, the chronological accuracy of the lamina counting method can be tested.
In this study, we exploit seasonal variations in trace elements to construct chronologies.
U-Th or radiocarbon dating methods–key methods which are currently being used - have significant analytical limitations in modern speleothems.
For U-Th dating, there is typically insufficient ingrowth of the daughter nuclide .
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