An increasing number of scientists recognize the value of speleothems1 as often extremely well-preserved archives of information about past climate, vegetation, hydrology, sea level, nuclide migration, water-rock interaction, landscape evolution, tectonics and human action. Well-constrained data are required to document past changes, reconstruct past patterns and predict future responses of the Earth system at a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. Speleothems are particularly useful in this regard because they can be found in many locations of the globe, sampled at high-resolution and reliably dated using high-precision uranium-series techniques.

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In addition to their tremendous value as archives...

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