Researchers Retrieve Historical Climate Record from Florida’s Caves

December 8, 2011 / Florida, United States, North America
Stalagmites in France's Grotte de Dargilan

Photo by Philip Larson/flickr

As part of a three-year climate research project a group of researchers from Florida State University are looking to Florida’s caves in order to find more information about the historical climate of the Gulf in order to offer a comparison to modern meteorological patterns.

With permission from the Southeastern Cave Conservancy Inc. (SCCI), the team recently harvested two stalagmites from a Northwest Florida cave in order to analyse them. As per the agreement, the stalagmites – one 4,000 years old, the other 25,000 years old – had to be replaced with exact reproductions. Over time these reproductions would be covered over and appear natural.

The six member team, which includes scientists, researchers and graduate students, are hoping to create a high-resolution timeline of monthly weather patterns in the Northern Gulf region that span thousands of years. This would allow them to study monsoonal weather patterns, similar to what India and China experience, and to get a better handle on predicting future weather patterns, especially in light of climate change.

Some of their work has already been published in the journal Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, and new research is expected to be published in the journal again soon. Another article for the Journal of Hydrology is also in the works.

Researcher finds key to ancient weather patterns in Florida’s caves []

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Comments (4)

  1. December 8, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Good article. Jason Polk pioneered this type of study during his graduate studies at USF.

    FYI, Florida is misspelled in the article title.

    • Caving News
      December 8, 2011 at 12:43 pm

      Good catch. Thanks Walter.

    • Lee
      December 8, 2011 at 1:40 pm

      Walter– If you’re interested in this, other records have been published from, for example Belize, that show that individual tropical cyclones were recorded by a stalagmite. See the work of Amy Frappier. I can send you a few of her articles if you want– they’re fascinating!

  2. Paul
    April 30, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    Does anyone know if any data has been published from Blanchard Springs Caverns in Stone County Arkansas?


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