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Paleoclimatic Significance of the Stable Isotopic Composition and Petrology of a Late Pleistocene Stalagmite from Botswana

  • Karin Holmgren (a1), Wibjörn Karlén (a1) and Paul A. Shaw (a2)

Abstract

High-resolution δ18O and δ13C analyses of a stalagmite from Lobatse II Cave reveal late Pleistocene environmental changes in Botswana. Large shifts in δ18O and δ13C are observed between two main periods of deposition. The first period, between 51,000 and 43,000 yr B.P., was warm and humid and may have been associated with some C3 vegetation. The second period, between 27,000 and 21,000 yr B.P., had temperatures approximately 2°C lower, and vegetation dominated by drought-adapted C4 plants. The intervening period, between 43,000 and 27,000 yr B.P., bounded by two major hiatuses in stalagmite growth, produced discontinuous speleothem formation, probably under dry conditions. New 230 Th/234U mass spectrometry age determinations for the stalagmite generally agree with previously measured 230 Th/234U ages.

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