Faculté des sciences

Glacier advances during the last 400 ka as evidenced in St. Beatus Caves (BE, Switzerland)

Häuselmann, Philipp ; Lauritzen, Stein-Erik ; Jeannin, Pierre-Yves ; Monbaron, Michel

In: Quaternary International, 2008, vol. 189, no. 1, p. 173-189

While stalagmites within caves are commonly used to obtain information about past climate change, little attention has so far been given to the cave, its morphology, and many other types of deposits contained in it. The discontinuous nature of cave sediments and the possibility that caves are re-shaped by more recent water circulations has discouraged many researchers, despite the fact that it is... Plus

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    Summary
    While stalagmites within caves are commonly used to obtain information about past climate change, little attention has so far been given to the cave, its morphology, and many other types of deposits contained in it. The discontinuous nature of cave sediments and the possibility that caves are re-shaped by more recent water circulations has discouraged many researchers, despite the fact that it is just this intimate relationship between the cave and surface conditions that makes caves such valuable archives. This article presents a method of determining a relative chronology which can then be dated numerically. Information from St. Beatus Cave and other nearby caves provides evidence of glacial advances that occurred within the following time windows: >350, 235–180, 160–135, 114–99, 76–54, and 30–16 ka. It also describes the following dated periods of valley deepening: 805–760 m a.s.l. (>350 ka), 760–700 m a.s.l. (235–180 ka), 700–660 m a.s.l. (160–135 ka), and 660–560 m a.s.l. (30–16 ka). These dates are new for this part of the Alpine Arc.