Alexander Budsky


Reconstruction of terrestrial climate variability in the western Mediterranean during the last ~500 ka using speleothems from southern Spain

Speleothems provide robust chronologies and are sensitive recorders of past changes in precipitation, temperature and vegetation. This project focuses on flowstones from south-eastern Spain containing climate information of the last 500,000 years.

The flowstones are precisely dated with the 230Th/U-method and show growth phases correlating with global phases of relatively warm and/or humid climate. During glacial phases, in particular during Marine Isotope Stages (MIS) 2 and 6, the flowstones, thus, show hiatuses (growth stops). In contrast, they grew during Interglacials, such as MIS 1, 5 and 7. However, they also show growth phases during cold phases, such as MIS 4, 6.5 and 8.

High-resolution analysis of carbon (δ13C) and oxygen (δ18O) stable isotopes as well as trace elements will enable reconstruction of climate conditions in the western Mediterranean for past warm phases as well as for the transition phases into cold phases during the last 500,000 years.