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Sample, analyses and study site
a SA1 stalagmite and analyses accomplished in this study. Coloured bars refer to U-Th dating at Xi’an Jiaotong (blue), National Taiwan (red) and Melbourne (black) Universities, while the blue line marks δ¹⁸O analyses (methods) carried out at Innsbruck University. The age model is reported with dots and 2σ error bars (indicating the U-Th ages) and their relative interpolation (green line = average model; dotted lines = propagation of ±2σ uncertainties). b, c Study site and other records discussed in the text.

Sample, analyses and study site a SA1 stalagmite and analyses accomplished in this study. Coloured bars refer to U-Th dating at Xi’an Jiaotong (blue), National Taiwan (red) and Melbourne (black) Universities, while the blue line marks δ¹⁸O analyses (methods) carried out at Innsbruck University. The age model is reported with dots and 2σ error bars (indicating the U-Th ages) and their relative interpolation (green line = average model; dotted lines = propagation of ±2σ uncertainties). b, c Study site and other records discussed in the text.

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Article
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Similarly to the effects of current climate change, the last deglaciation (Termination I) rapidly altered northern latitude temperatures and ice-sheet extent, as well as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation. However, it is still unclear how these changes propagated and impacted the central Mediterranean continental rainfall variability....

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Citations

... Indeed, the investigation of infiltrating waters permits to clarify the natural biogeochemical processes occurring in the vadose zone ecosystem, and to assess their ecological features in relation to potential anthropogenic impacts (Fairchild & Treble, 2009;Fehér et al., 2016;Hartland et al., 2012;Moldovan et al., 2007;Motyka et al., 2005). In particular, the analysis of dripping water allows to understand and reconstruct the processes leading to speleothem deposition, hence their use as significant paleoenvironmental archives (Baldini et al., 2006;Columbu et al., 2018Columbu et al., , 2019Columbu et al., , 2020Columbu et al., , 2022Fairchild et al., 2000;Fairchild & Treble, 2009;Lauritzen, 2018;Nava-Fernandez et al., 2020;Riechelmann et al., 2013;Rossi & Lozano, 2016;Tremaine & Froelich, 2013;Wong et al., 2011). Indeed, several studies on cave waters have been, and still are, primarily focused on the ecohydrology of karst systems (Motyka et al., 2005;Nannoni et al., 2020), comprising the dissolution/precipitation processes and the surface pollution sources affecting them (D'Angeli et al., 2017;Jiménez-Sánchez et al., 2008;Mahler & Massei, 2007;Ruggieri et al., 2017). ...
Article
Water and air flows connect underground systems to the surface, affecting the cave’s chemical and physical properties. The aim of this work was to investigate the chemical characteristics of waters in Pertosa-Auletta Cave (Italy), focusing on dripwater and on the underground Negro river, seasonally and in different areas of the cave. In particular, three trails with different environmental characteristics and tourism pressure, were investigated in order to highlight the processes affecting the ecological equilibrium of the hypogean ecosystem. Dripping and flowing river waters, both rich in Ca because of their interaction with carbonate rocks, show distinct chemical signatures regarding the other elements (especially K and Mg) due to lithological and hydrodynamical differences. Moreover, water chemistry is affected by the seasonality in the pluviometric regime and the related variability in the dilution effect. Bat colonies, dwelling mainly along the fossil trail, enrich dripping waters with P and N. Their concentrations have also been found at fairly high levels across the whole trail network , suggesting an additional potential role of leaching from agricultural and forested soils above the Pertosa-Auletta Cave in defining dripwater chemistry.
... A similar process is reported for other speleothem records (Columbu et al., 2022) and peatlands (García-Alix et al., 2021) whereby periods of lower Atlantic/Mediterranean rainfall result in less negative speleothem δ 18 O, as Mediterranean precipitation is δ 18 O-enriched with respect the Atlantic. At sites near to Sorbas, changes in the contribution of the Mediterranean and Atlantic moisture sources have been recently proposed to explain hydroclimate changes in Padul wetland during the last 35 ka (García-Alix et al., 2021), and during the Holocene in Laguna de Río Seco (Toney et al., 2020) through δD variability of n-alkanes. ...
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Present climate conditions impede the formation of calcite speleothems in the gypsum caves of the semi-arid region of Sorbas (Southern Spain). However, U-Th dating reveals the uninterrupted deposition of a 46 mm-thick carbonate flowstone in the Sorbas caves from ~78 to ~71 ka, during Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 5a. This indicates that the area was vegetated during this period, producing biogenic CO2 in soils necessary for the underground deposition of the speleothem, which contrasts with the current unvegetated landscape. During MIS 5a, rainfall recharged the karst aquifer, leading to cave seepage. The development of soils and persistent water infiltration suggests a higher precipitation/evapotranspiration ratio with respect to the present, which was likely favored by lower regional temperatures and a different annual rainfall regime. δ18O and δ13C analyses testify that the speleothem recorded climate pulses synchronous, and structurally similar, with Greenland interstadial and stadial periods, with relatively wetter conditions recorded during interstadials 21.1, 20 and 19.2, and drier periods during stadials 21.1 and 20. This demonstrates that the climate in the desert-like environment of Sorbas is sensitive to inter-and intra-hemispherical triggers, such as the extent of Northern ice sheets and the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation. Interstadials (stadials) were also characterized by a higher (lower) Atlantic/ Mediterranean moisture source ratio. For the first time, we show that carbonate speleothems formed in arid gypsum caves can record reliable palaeoenvironmental information spanning multiple millennia, procuring proxies for detailed palaeoclimate reconstructions. Such speleothems are thus excellent candidates for understanding past climate dynamics and patterns in desert-like gypsum terrains.