What Caves tell us about Climate

Professor Andy Baker from UNSW Australia will present the STEP lecture where he will explain how cave stalagmites can tell us about past and present climate. Formed from water dripping into the cave, they contain chemical records of the surface rainfall, and its interactions with the soil and rock.
  • When 15 Nov, 2016 from 08:00 PM to 10:00 PM (Australia/Sydney / UTC1008)
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Sometimes the amount of water dripping into the cave is related to the amount of rainfall. In some stalagmites, the rate that they grow can tell us about the climate. In other stalagmites, they contain chemicals or biomarkers that indicate how long the water has taken to reach the stalagmite or the type of vegetation growing on the surface. In some cases, stalagmites contain a record of past wildfires, which enables research into how fire frequency has changed in the past.

The talk will feature examples of ongoing research in the caves of NSW and WA, including Wombeyan, Yarrangobilly, Wellington and the Kempsey hinterland in NSW, and Yanchep and Margaret River in WA. There’ll be samples to hold and data loggers and probes to look at, take apart and use.

For further information, see https://www.facebook.com/bakerlabgroup/ and http://stories.scienceinpublic.com.au/2016/cavewater/.