Category:Speleothem Working Group

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Revision as of 13:25, 11 April 2017 by NickScroxton (Talk | contribs) (Expanded hydrology section to include all modern observations)

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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

Modern Cave Conditions

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:


  • soil thickness
  • vegetation type

In-Karst Hydrology

  • karst residence time
  • transit time distributions
  • porosity
  • rock overburden thickness
  • flow route type


  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • pCO2
  • drip-rate
  • drip chemistry


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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