Journal article

Palaeoenvironmental changes recorded by speleothems of the southern Alps (Piani Eterni, Belluno, Italy) during four interglacial to glacial climate transitions

Andrea Columbu, Francesco Sauro, Joyce Lundberg, Russell Drysdale, Jo De Waele



Three stalagmites, which grew in the high altitude (∼1800 m a.s.l.) Piani Eterni karst system (northern Italy), represent the longest speleothem palaeoclimate-environmental record from the southern Alps. U-Th dating shows their discontinuous formation during Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 10, 8, 7d, 6 and 5d–b, with carbonate deposition prevented during both full interglacial and full glacial stages. Speleothem formation was inhibited during interglacial peaks because local base level rise, connected to global climate changes, caused the alluviation of the main epiphreatic levels of the cave system. Drainage of the hydrological pathways, caused by the progressive decrease of rainfall and the acc..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Funding Acknowledgements

This work was funded by the National Park of Belluno Dolomites (PNDB) through the triennial project "Ricostruzioni paleoclimatiche e di evoluzione del paesaggio attraverso datazioni di speleotemi di grotte nell'area del Mediterraneo". We would like to thank Dr. Enrico Vettorazzo and all the staff of the PNDB for the administrative support in this research. The samples have been collected thanks to all speleologists from the "Piani Eterni Speleological Project", members of different Italian caving clubs and from the Ekaterinburg Speleological Club from Russia. Without their efforts, this study wouldn't have been possible. The U-Th dating was partially funded by NSERC Discovery Grant (to JL). Additional funds were received from the Venetian Federation of Speleology (FSV) and from the Central Commission of Speleology of the Italian Alpine Club (CAI). Thanks to Ros Williams for help with spike calibration, Ilaria Isola, Francesco Menniti and Elisabetta Bosi for the help with stable isotope drilling, and to Barbara Marchesini for assistance during petrographic microscopy. Thanks also to all the palaeoclimate researchers that sent us their data. Finally, we are grateful for the comments and suggestions of two anonymous reviewers that considerably improved the manuscript.