We have developed a novel, quick and non-destructive method for tracing flood events in caves through the analysis of a stalagmite thick section with an XRF core scanner. The analyzed stalagmite has multiple horizons of fine sediments from past flood events intercalated with areas of cleaner calcite. Flood events detected from the elemental XRF core scanning data show good agreement with the position of flood horizons identified in petrographic thin sections. The geochemical composition of the individual flood layers shows that in certain cases the clay horizons had a distinct geochemical fingerprint suggesting that it may be possible to distinguish individual flood layers based on their geochemistry. This presents the possibility for using flood events as marker horizons to chronologically tie different speleothems in a cave to each other.
Finné, Martin; Malin Kylander; Meighan Boyd; Hanna S. Sundqvist; and Ludvig Löwemark.
Can XRF scanning of speleothems be used as a non-destructive method to identify paleoflood events in caves?.
International Journal of Speleology,
Available at: https://scholarcommons.usf.edu/ijs/vol44/iss1/2