EuroSpeleo 2016 Sessions

Poster: 12,000 years of rainfall history revealed by stalagmite deposits from Cueva de Asiul (Matienzo, N. Spain)

Session code: P6

Poster / Science, Main EuroSpeleo Conference

Dr Andrew Smith


Here, we present combined geochemical data (oxygen isotope) from two stalagmite deposits extracted from Cueva de Asiul (Matienzo, N. Spain). The isotope record covers the period 12,000 – 0 years BP and identifies cycles of approximately 1500 year duration throughout the Holocene. These cycles are interpreted as changes from relatively wet to dry climatic conditions and their timing suggests that rainfall delivery is tightly coupled to cooling events within the North Atlantic Ocean. This relationship indicates that rainfall delivery to western Europe is paced primarily by changes in North Atlantic Ocean circulation, the signal of which is transmitted to the atmosphere through sea surface temperature and pressure patterns. These speleothems offer us an important insight into past rainfall dynamics in western Europe and help to identify key interactions between the ocean and atmospheric systems during the last 12,000 years.


I am part of a team researching the caves of the Matienzo valley (N.Spain). Our work focuses on understanding modern cave conditions and using this information to help us reconstruct past climates from geochemical data preserved in several stalagmite deposits.


Dr Peter Wynn, Lancaster University
Prof. Philip Barker, Lancaster Univeristy
Prof. Melanie Leng, British Geological Survey
Dr. Steve Noble, British Geological Survey
Dr. Wlodek Tych, Lancaster Univeristy