Abstract

Growth periods and stable isotope analyses of speleothems from Hoti Cave in northern Oman provide a record of continental pluvial periods extending back over the past four of Earth's glacial-interglacial cycles. Rapid speleothem growth occurred during the early to middle Holocene (6–10.5 ka B.P.), 78–82 ka B.P., 120–135 ka B.P., 180–200 ka B.P., and 300–325 ka B.P. The speleothem calcite deposited during each of these episodes is highly depleted in 18O compared to modern speleothems. The δ18O values for calcite deposited within pluvial periods generally fall in the range of −4‰ to −8‰ relative to the Vienna Peedee belemnite standard, whereas modern speleothems range from −1‰ to −3‰. The growth and isotopic records indicate that during peak interglacial periods, the limit of the monsoon rainfall was shifted far north of its present location and each pluvial period was coincident with an interglacial stage of the marine oxygen isotope record. The association of continental pluvial periods with peak interglacial conditions suggests that glacial boundary conditions, and not changes in solar radiation, are the primary control on continental wetness on glacial-interglacial time scales.

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