CAVE STUDIES:

depositional environments with excellent preservation of organic remains
source of paleontological and anthropoligical information since 1700's
Bone Caves and Paleolithic Art of Europe


  • www.cr.nps.gov/history/online_books/glimpses1/glimpses25.htm
  • www.routledge-ny.com/caves/burials.pdf
  • www.burlingtonnews.net/hanion.html
  • www.burlingtonnews.net/mammothcavemummies.html


  • FORMATION Processes
    TYPES OF CAVES       BEDROCK
    Caverns Carbonates (Lava)
    Rockshelters Lava, Other: SS, LS, Granite
    Traps Lava, Carbonates, Other


    CAVE ASSEMBLAGE = f(P,D,R,I)


    PRODUCTION
    DISPERSAL of Biotic Material to and within Caves:
    1. Biotic Transport
    2. Aquatic Transport
    3. Eolian Transport

    PRESERVATION of biotic remains in caves favored by several factors
    INTERPRETATION Factors important in Site Selection
    1. Aridity
    2. Biotic Activity: Trade Off
    3. Sampling Location
    SPELEOTHEMS: limestone cave deposits: stalagmites, stalactites, laminar deposits

    Formation: de-gassing of CO2 results in CaCO3 deposition

    DATING:

    1. "Annual" layers (annual resolution "unproven")
    2. radiocarbon dates (TAMS)
    3. U/Th dates, the uranium is in solution, precipitated without Thorium
    4. Thermoluminscence of mineral inclusions
    5. Electron Spin Resonance of mineral inclusions
    6. Paleomagnetism

    PALEOCLIMATE:

    1. Growth Periods - frequency histograms of dated speleothems

      Sea level:
      Temperate Regions: growth during interglaciations
      Arid Regions: growth during pluvial periods (Harmon & Curl, 1978)

    2. Growth Bands: thicker layers when groundwater greater

    3. Contents of Speleothems

      Mineral grains in speleothems
      Oxygen & Carbon isotope studies:
      Devil's Hole Calif. "...the Devils Hole chronology is the best we have..." (Broecker, 1992)
      [link]
      [link]

      Interpreting the δ13C curves [graph]
      Pollen Analysis:


    Cave Studies Readings

    HOMEWORK