Speleothems used as climate indicator

Daniel James, PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge, visited BOSCORF this week with a collection of speleothem samples. Together with Rebecca Garnett, BOSCORF’s X-ray imaging scanner operator, he collected high-resolution radiograph and laminograph images on 15 speleothem slab samples.



Speleothems—stalagmites and stalactites—grow in caves and can record climatic conditions, such as the amount of rainfall. Because cave systems are in contact with the outside world, speleothems are widely used to reconstruct climatic conditions prevailing in the areas surrounding the caves.



Daniel aims to investigate past periods of drought and potentially link these to historic events. Past human civilizations were highly dependent on seasonal rains, and the speleothems Daniel collected form a past record of rainfall over the cave system.