Radioactive decay of Uranium and Thorium isotopes at constant rates provides a tool to determine the age of speleothems with high precision and accuracy. As with any dating method a fundamental prerequisite is the lack of post-depositional alteration, that is, no gain or loss of isotopes within the decay chain of interest. Using state-of-the-art instrumentation this method allows dating speleothems between essentially zero and ca. 600,000 years before present. Multiple age determinations are typically performed along the extension axis of a stalagmite in order to decipher its detailed growth history. Uranium series chronology of speleothems not only provides useful constraints on speleogenetic processes, but forms the backbone of the increasingly important scientific field using stalagmites (and less commonly flowstone) as paleoenvironmental archives.
|Title of host publication||Encyclopedia of Caves|
|Editors||William White, David Culver, Tanja Pipan|
|Publication status||Published - 16 May 2019|
Fields of Expertise
- Advanced Materials Science