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Cave deposits (speleothems) as archives of environmental change


knocker

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  • Location: Camborne
  • Location: Camborne

Speleothems, from the Greek words for cave and deposit, include the familiar descending stalactites, upward-growing stalagmites and more continuous sheets called flowstones.  They grow slowly, at rates of between 1 mm a year to 0.001 mm a year. This growth can persist for many thousands of years before being interrupted.  As with trees, speleothems commonly display annual layers which may be visible when a sample is polished, or recognised through chemical analyses.  Ideally, a sample will accumulate regular, parallel layers,  allowing the investigator to study its growth through time, and see changes in environmental conditions.

 

 

http://climatica.org.uk/cave-deposits-speleothems-as-archives-of-environmental-change

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