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Determination of phases of warm climate during MIS 3 in Central Europe based on precisely dated speleothems from Bleßberg Cave, Germany

Speleothems provide a great opportunity for paleoclimate reconstruction because they occur almost worldwide and can be dated very precisely using the U-series disequilibrium method. The most commonly used climate proxies are stable isotope values (δ18O and δ13C) and trace elements. However, these are influenced by a variety of surface and in-cave processes, which results in a non-trivial interpretation of the speleothem proxy signals. The last glacial period and in particular the Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 3 is, compared to the recent warm phase, the Holocene, characterised by larger climate oscillations. These are detectable in δ18O records from Greenland ice cores and also climate archives in Europe, such as pollen or tree ring records. Unfortunately, little direct proxy evidence is available from central Europe, and the climatic and environmental conditions during MIS 3 remain largely enigmatic. Speleothem records from central Europe during MIS 3 are limited due to cold climate conditions and mainly restricted to the warmer southern or alpine regions. Here we present the first results of two flowstones from Bleßberg Cave in Germany. Preliminary 230Th/U-ages make these flowstones the most northern continental growth of speleothems during MIS 3 in central Europe. Thus, these samples provide the unique opportunity to reconstruct climate variability during parts of the last glacial period. With the combination of several different proxies, such as stable isotopes, trace elements and the results from cave monitoring, we will be able to obtain detailed insights into environmental conditions in central Europe during MIS 3 and the Late Glacial.


Jennifer Klose1, Sebastian F. M. Breitenbach2, Birgit Plessen3, Hubert Vonhof4, Denis Scholz1
1Institute for Geosciences, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, 55122, Germany; 2Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK; 3German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam, 14473, Germany; 4Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, 55128, Germany
GeoKarlsruhe 2021
Germany, Greenland