Abstract

Fifteen stalagmites from four caves and one sealed tunnel in southern Belgium are composed of alternations of annually deposited white-porous and dark-compact laminae. This is demonstrated by comparing the number of laminae with the local history of the site for modern stalagmites and with radioisotopic ages for Late Glacial and Holocene stalagmites. Annual cyclicity in the internal structure of these speleothems is explained by the highly seasonal variations of the water excess, which influences underground water flow. Comparison between climatic data and modern stalagmites of a closed tunnel shows that growth laminae can record climatic variations: (1) there is a good correlation (R = 0.84) between lamina thickness in a stalagmite and water excess; (2) during years with a high water excess, dark-compact laminae are more developed, which makes the speleothem darker. Vertical successions of several laminae represent microsequences that may have recorded climatic variations with a time resolution of 1/2 year. In a Late Glacial stalagmite, successive laminae microsequences form very regular cycles of 11 years separated by a thick darkcompact lamina. It is supposed that, as for modern stalagmites, the thick dark-compact lamina corresponds to a period of high water excess. Hence, this 11-year cycle may reflect a climatic cycle.

First Page Preview

First page PDF preview
You do not currently have access to this article.