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A High-Resolution Record of Holocene Climate Change in Speleothem Calcite from Cold Water Cave, Northeast Iowa

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Science  04 Dec 1992:
Vol. 258, Issue 5088, pp. 1626-1630
DOI: 10.1126/science.258.5088.1626

Abstract

High-precision uranium-thorium mass spectrometric chronology and 18O-13C isotopic analysis of speleothem calcite from Cold Water Cave in northeast Iowa have been used to chart mid-Holocene climate change. Significant shifts in †18O and †13C isotopic values coincide with well-documented Holocene vegetation changes. Temperature estimates based on 18O/16O ratios suggest that the climate warmed rapidly by about 3°C at 5900 years before present and then cooled by 4°C at 3600 years before present. Initiation of a gradual increase in †13C at 5900 years before present suggests that turnover of the forest soil biomass was slow and that equilibrium with prairie vegetation was not attained by 3600 years before present.

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