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). In recent years we have expanded into several other regions of Europe and elsewhere, commonly in collaboration with international scientists.

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Current projects

The Last Interglacial in the Alps

The Alps in a warmer world: speleothems offer unique insights in our climate future

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Northeast Greenland Speleothem Project

Development of mid to late Quaternary climate records for Northeast Greenland: a speleothem-based approach

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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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Ice Caves

Layered ice in Alpine caves offers a largely untapped archive which we explore in a new interdisciplinary project.

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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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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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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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