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Paleoclimate Deduced from a Multidisciplinary Study of a Half-Million-Year-Old Stalagmite from Rana, Northern Norway

  • Stein-Erik Lauritzen (a1), Reidar Løvlie (a2), Dagfinn Moe (a3) and Eivind Østbye (a4)

Abstract

A 7-cm-thick flowstone sequence has been dated by extended Uranium series techniques to less than 1.25 myr, with a probable growth interval of ≥350,000–≤730,000 yr B.P. The time span is in accordance with paleomagnetic results revealing normal polarity for the whole sequence, i.e., a depositional age of <730,000 yr B.P. Oxygen isotope variations suggest deposition during three warm periods, interrupted by two isotopically cold hiatuses characterized by bulk resolution and detrital laminae. Calculations suggest that climatic transitions may have involved a shift of 1.1–2.4°C in mean annual temperatures. Contemporary flooding of the cave due to adjacent glacier expansion provides evidence for the widely held view that speleothem deposition is halted by glacier proximity. The flowstone matrix contained appreciable amounts of pollen (pine, birch) as well as larger amounts of charcoal dust. The pollen assemblage suggests a climate comparable with the present, implying that Norway has experienced at least three glacial/interglacial transitions during the growth interval of the speleothem. The warmer periods were characterized by a forest environment, with ample evidence of fire.

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Paleoclimate Deduced from a Multidisciplinary Study of a Half-Million-Year-Old Stalagmite from Rana, Northern Norway

  • Stein-Erik Lauritzen (a1), Reidar Løvlie (a2), Dagfinn Moe (a3) and Eivind Østbye (a4)

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