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Timing and nature of the penultimate deglaciation in a high alpine stalagmite from Switzerland

Häuselmann, A. D., Fleitmann, D., Cheng, H., Tabersky, D., Günther, D. and Edwards, L. R. (2015) Timing and nature of the penultimate deglaciation in a high alpine stalagmite from Switzerland. Quaternary Science Reviews, 126. pp. 264-275. ISSN 0277-3791

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2015.08.026


The timing and nature of the penultimate deglaciation, also known as Termination II (T-II), is subject of controversial discussions due to the scarcity of precisely-dated palaeoclimate records. Here we present a new precisely-dated and highly-resolved multi-proxy stalagmite record covering T-II from the high alpine Schafsloch Cave in Switzerland, an area where climate is governed by the North Atlantic. The inception of stalagmite growth at 137.4 ± 1.4 kyr before present (BP) indicates the presence of drip water and cave air temperatures of above 0°C, and is related to a climate-induced change in the thermal state (from cold- to warm-based) of the glacier above the cave. The cessation of stalagmite growth between 133.1 ± 0.7 and 131.9 ± 0.6 kyr BP is most likely related to distinct drop in temperature associated with Heinrich stadial 11. The resumption of stalagmite growth at 131.9 ± 0.6 kyr BP is accompanied by an abrupt increase in temperature and precipitation as indicated by distinct shifts in the oxygen and carbon isotopic composition as well as in trace element concentrations. The mid-point of T-II is around 131.8 ± 0.6 kyr BP in the Schafsloch Cave record is significantly earlier compared to the age of 129.1 ± 0.1 kyr BP in the Sanbao Cave record from China. The different ages between both records can be best explained by the competing effects of insolation and glacial boundary forcing on seasonality and snow cover extent in Eurasia.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Scientific Archaeology
Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Archaeology
ID Code:65090

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