The systematic documentation of calcite fabrics in stalagmites and flowstones provides robustness to palaeoclimate interpretation based on geochemical proxies, but it has been neglected because it is difficult to transform crystal morphologies into numerical values, and construct fabric time series. Here, general criteria that allow for coding fabrics of calcite composing stalagmites and flowstones is provided. Being based on known models of fabric development, the coding ascribes sequential numbers to each fabric, which reflect climate-related parameters, such as changes in drip rate variability, bio-mediation or diagenetic modifications. Acronyms are proposed for Columnar types, Dendritic, Micrite, Microsparite and Mosaic fabrics, whose use could then render possible comparison of calcite fabrics in stalagmites and flowstones from diverse latitudinal and altitudinal settings. The climatic and environmental significance of similarities in the geochemical signals and trends analysed in coeval stalagmites and flowstones (or differences in the signals and trends) will be more robust when compared with fabric time series. This is particularly true where, such as in the Holocene, changes in geochemical values may be subtle, yet fabrics may show changes related to variations in supersaturation, drip rate or input of detrital particles or organic compounds. The proposed microstratigraphic logging allows recognition of changes in stable isotope ratio or trace element values that can be ascribed to hydrology and diagenesis, with considerable improvement of reconstructions based on the chemical proxies of stalagmites and flowstones composed of calcite.
Microstratigraphic logging of calcite fabrics in speleothems as tool for palaeoclimate studies.
International Journal of Speleology,
Available at: http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/ijs/vol44/iss1/1