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Studies of the paleomagnetism and rock magnetism of speleothems have shown that their natural remanent magnetizations (NRMs) are either detrital remanent magnetizations (DRMs), chemical remanent magnetizations (CRMs), or a mixture of both. The DRM arises from magnetic particles deposited by cave floods, and the evidence is unequivocal. The CRM results from organic-chelated iron or bacteria, and the evidence is circumstantial. The frequent presence of organic materials in speleothems is easily demonstrated, and they may be soluble, insoluble, or both. Organics account for the color of many speleothems. Whether the remanence is DRM or CRM, the signal is contemporaneous with the precipitation of the host calcite matrix and is measurably free of depositional inclination error effects. It is suggested that the studies summarized here have relevance for the timing of remanence in diagenetic limestone calcite, faithfulness of this remanence in its alignment along the ambient magnetic field at the site, and to hydrocarbon-magnetite associations in carbonate rocks.

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