Glacial to Interglacial Climate and Sea Level Changes Recorded in Submerged Speleothems, Argentarola, Italy
Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Direct records of Quaternary sea level change can provide insight on the timing and nature of ice sheet retreat during glacial terminations. Such records are generally rare, particularly prior to the last deglaciation, due in part to the difficulty of recovering material from sites that have been submerged by subsequent sea-level rise. A suite of stalagmites recovered from a submerged cave on Argentarola Island in the Tyrrhenian Sea contains hiatuses that were formed when the cave became submerged by seawater. These hiatuses are remarkable due to the presence of calcite tubes secreted by serpulid worms, providing direct evidence of marine inundation. As sea level drops during the following glacial inception, the cave is drained and dense spelean calcite encases the serpulid worm tubes, forming alternating layers of spelean and serpulid calcite. U-Th dates of spelean calcite directly above and below these serpulid layers has previously been used to constrain timing and amplitude of sea level highstands in the Mediterranean. Stable isotope records from the same cave have also been used to indicate increased precipitation across the Mediterranean during Sapropel 6 (175 ka). Here we present U-Th dates and stable isotope records for three Argentarola stalagmites. These specimens were recovered from -22, -18, and -14 m relative to present sea level (rpsl), and complement previously published data for Argentarola stalagmites at -21, -18.5, and -18 m rpsl. The timing and elevation of spelean calcite directly above and below serpulid tube layers provide rare insight on rates of sea-level change between -14 and -22 m during glacial terminations and inceptions prior to the last termination. Stable isotope records from the same stalagmites are used to investigate changes in western Mediterranean climate and potential relationships to Mediterranean sapropel events.