Category:Speleothem Working Group

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( Working Group )


In the Linked Earth context, a working group (WG) is a self-organized coalition of knowledgeable experts, whose activities are governed herewith. This page is dedicated to the discussion of data and metadata standards for speleothems, and aims to formulate a set of recommendations for such a standard.


Members of 'Speleothem Working Group'

Specific tasks

We recommend that discussions focus on the following techniques, and explore potential commonalities.

For each observation type, we recommend:

  • structuring discussions around what scientific questions one would want to ask of the data
  • listing essential, recommended, and optional information for:
    • the measurements themselves
    • any inference made from the measurements (e.g. calibration to temperature)
    • the underlying uncertainties, and what those numbers correspond to (e.g. 1-sigma or 2-sigma?)
  • provide an ideal data table (or link to one) for each type of observation, so the community knows what to report and how to report it.
  • provide separate recommendations for new and legacy datasets

Things to describe


  • stable isotopes
  • trace metals
  • organics
  • fluid inclusions
  • mineralogy
  • clumped isotopes
  • noble gas temperatures
  • C14
  • Optical Density of luminosity (ODL)
  • Mg/Ca


The interpretation of geochemical or lithological signals embedded in speleothem archives relies sometimes heavily on implicit assumptions about cave hydrology. What parameters need to be archived to enable long-term re-use and better information extraction from speleothem datasets? A few come to mind:

  • karst residence time
  • transit time distributions
  • porosity
  • soil thickness


Please see the chronologies WG for generalities about U/Th dating or layer-counting. If challenges specific to dating speleothems exist, please list relevant metadata properties below.

  • For age models based in lamina counting, evidence that laminae are annual
  • For age models using C14 for deposition rate, evidence on robustness of assumed linearity

Sample data

  • Distance from top of speleothem
  • Thickness of analysed sample
  • Evidence of equilibrium (Hendy tests)
  • Year (with uncertainty)


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