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Deciphering pollen assemblages from alpine speleothems holds potential to provide unique information about past vegetation in rapidly changing environments. Here, we reconstruct subsurface aerosol transport at Milchbach cave (Switzerland, 1840 m asl) based on the pollen content of two Holocene stalagmites. We demonstrate that pollen is chiefly associated with bacterially mediated calcite fabrics, typical of a well-ventilated cave system. In contrast, pollen is absent from columnar calcite fabrics confirming that hydrological transport is not a significant process for the incorporation of pollen into speleothems at Milchbach cave. Our results support significant changes in the subsurface ventilation regime, which can be associated with the waxing and waning of Upper Grindelwald glacier. Pollen assemblages obtained from six carbonate sub-samples attest the presence of a mixed deciduous forest in the Grindelwald valley during the early and middle Holocene, in agreement with coeval regional pollen records. This study demonstrates that even small amounts of calcite (0.3–2.8 cm3) are capable of delivering pollen spectra representative of the original vegetation if sufficiently elevated deposition fluxes are provided.
We present the longest-duration directly dated terrestrial palaeoclimate record from the western Mediterranean region: a flowstone speleothem from Gitana Cave, southeast Spain. The main phase of growth was 274 to 58 ka, dated by multi-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (MC-ICPMS) U-series methods. Effective precipitation, which we consider primarily responsible for flowstone calcite δ13C variations, measured at 300 μm resolution, was higher during interglacials associated with marine oxygen isotope stages (MIS) 7 and 5, and lower during glacial MIS 6. There is a close correspondence between speleothem δ13C and sea surface temperature (SST) estimates from adjacent Atlantic Ocean cores during MIS 6, which implies that oceanic conditions are critical in controlling the western Mediterranean terrestrial moisture balance during glacial periods. Other features of our record, such as the sequence of termination II warming/moistening between approximately 133 and 127 ka, including a "pause" around 130–128 ka, and the lagged termination of MIS 5 warm intervals (5e, 5c and 5a) are similar to other terrestrial records within the Mediterranean basin, indicating climate synchroneity along the northern Mediterranean coast. The Gitana cave region also may have been a refugium for temperate species during short-lived cold/arid periods during MIS 5.
The IntCal09 and Marine09 radiocarbon calibration curves have been revised utilizing newly available and updated data sets from 14C measurements on tree rings, plant macrofossils, speleothems, corals, and foraminifera. The calibration curves were derived from the data using the random walk model (RWM) used to generate IntCal09 and Marine09, which has been revised to account for additional uncertainties and error structures. The new curves were ratified at the 21st International Radiocarbon conference in July 2012 and are available as Supplemental Material at www.radiocarbon.org. The database can be accessed at http://intcal.qub.ac.uk/intcal13/.
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