Research Detail

Palaeoclimate & caves

Speleothems, such as stalagmites and flowstones, form under extremely constant physico-chemical conditions over thousands of years, thereby recording changes in meteoric precipitation and air temperature outside the cave. The growth texture of the calcite, the age model, and the geochemical composition are the principal proxies used to identify and quantify variations in environmental parameters.


Our traditional research focus have been caves in the greater Alpine region (map below; click to enlarge). We also collaborate on studies of caves and their deposits in a number of other areas in Europe and elsewhere.

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Current projects

Reading the Asian Monsoon Record

This research project aims to shed new light on the interpretation of palaeo-monsoon proxy data using fluid inclusions in speleothem calcite.

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Marine Isotope Stage 11

Widely regarded as the best analogue for the current interglacial, this period some 425,000 years ago is the target of a new research project in our group.

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Palaeo-Permafrost Ural Mountains

This new project explores the long-term changes of permafrost along the Ural Mountains using both cryogenic cave carbonates and stalagmites as key archives.

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Cryogenic cave carbonates in the Alps

These unusual speleothems are more widespread in alpine caves than previously thought and hold great promises for unravelling the long-term history of mountain permafrost.

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Devils Hole, Nevada

More than two decades after the pioneering work by Ike Winograd and coworkers our group has re-started palaeoclimate research at this famous site in the desert.

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Conturines Cave

Located at 2800 m altitude, this cave contains thick fossil flowstones which hold the key for a better understanding of glacial-interglacial climate change in the Dolomites.

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Eurasian isotope transect

This project studies the Holocene evolution of stable isotopes in precipitation along a transect from the Atlantic seaboard into the largest continental mass on Earth.

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Ice Caves

We have a long-standing interest in ice deposits present in caves and are involved in monitoring these sensitive environments, as well as in attempts to assess their palaeoclimatic potential.

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