Chris Day Oxford Cave close up

Laboratory constraints on stalagmite chemistry 

 

 An increasing number of studies report trace-element and stable-isotope records in speleothems. This variation is controlled by diverse environmental variables including the climatically important variables, temperature and rainfall. There is, however, a paucity of laboratory studies attempting to understand the influence of these environmental controls on stalagmite geochemistry. Quantitative data from such studies would dramatically improve our ability to reconstruct palaeoclimate from stalagmites.

We have developed a new series of carbonate growth experiments in karst-analogue conditions in the laboratory. The setup closely mimics natural processes (e.g. precipitation driven by CO2-degassing, low ionic strength solution, thin solution film) but with a tight control on growth conditions (temperature, pCO2, drip rate, calcite saturation index and the composition of the initial solution).

We use these experiments to further our understanding of stalagmite growth kinetics (Day and Henderson 2011), stable isotope fractionation on the stalagmite surface (Day and Henderson 2011, Reynard, Day and Henderson 2011, Day and Henderson 2012) and trace element incorporation (Day and Henderson in preparation).

People

Dr. Chris Day

Prof. Gideon Henderson

Funding

NERC

University College Oxford 

Chris Day Oxford Cave overview