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Speleothem evidence for late Holocene climate variability and floods in Southern Greece

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Martin Finné
Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden Navarino Environmental Observatory (NEO), Messinia, Greece Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm University, Sweden
Miryam Bar-Matthews
Geological Survey of Israel, 30 Malchei Israel Street, Jerusalem 95501, Israel
Karin Holmgren
Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden Navarino Environmental Observatory (NEO), Messinia, Greece Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm University, Sweden
Hanna S. Sundqvist
Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden Navarino Environmental Observatory (NEO), Messinia, Greece Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm University, Sweden
Ilias Liakopoulos
Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology and Speleology of Southern Greece, Greece
Qiong Zhang
Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm University, Sweden


We present stable isotope data (δ18O, δ13C) from a detrital rich stalagmite from Kapsia Cave, the Peloponnese, Greece. The cave is rich in archeological remains and there are reasons to believe that flooding of the cave has directly affected humans using the cave. Using a combination of U–Th and 14C dating to constrain a site-specific correction factor for (232Th/238U) detrital molar ratio, a linear age model was constructed. The age model shows that the stalagmite grew during the period from ca. 950 BC to ca. AD 830. The stable oxygen record from Kapsia indicates cyclical changes of close to 500 yr in precipitation amount, with rapid shifts towards wetter conditions followed by slowly developing aridity. Superimposed on this signal, wetter conditions are inferred around 850, 700, 500 and 400–100 BC, and around AD 160–300 and AD 770; and driest conditions are inferred to have occurred around 450 BC, AD 100–150 and AD 650. Detrital horizons in the stalagmite indicate that three major floods took place in the cave at 500 BC, 70 BC and AD 450. The stable carbon isotope record reflects changes in biological activity being a result of both climate and human activities.

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University of Washington

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Speleothem evidence for late Holocene climate variability and floods in Southern Greece
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Speleothem evidence for late Holocene climate variability and floods in Southern Greece
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Speleothem evidence for late Holocene climate variability and floods in Southern Greece
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