Trace Elemental Analysis of a North Australian Stalagmite

April 18th, 2009

A 152 cm tall stalagmite (KIM1) was collected from the El NiƱo-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)-sensitive and monsoon-dominated Kimberly region of northwestern Australia. In order to better constrain the results of a previous a stable isotope study of KIM1, we conducted 173 trace elemental analyses at 1 cm intervals, corresponding to ~20 year resolution. Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca ratios were covariant both with each other and with carbon isotopic ratios for most of the growth interval (~8800-4050 yr BP), and like the carbon isotope record, were roughly antiphased with oxygen isotopic ratios. One exception is the period 5500-5000 yr BP during which time the Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca ratios deviated from the carbon isotopic ratios and appeared instead to correspond with oxygen isotopic ratios. A lag between peaks in reconstructed ENSO activity and Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca ratios is also apparent.

Abigail G. Michaelson, ’09 Chicago, IL
Majors: Geology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Yemane Asmerom
University of New Mexico
Victor J. Polyak
University of New Mexico

Sponsor: Rhawn Denniston

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