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The Value of Radiocarbon in Speleothem Science

Convenors: Jens Fohlmeister (University of Potsdam, Germany) & Franziska Lechleitner (University of Oxford, UK)

Description: Radiocarbon is one of the most versatile isotopes in environmental science. Its applications in different climate archives as a dating tool and environmental tracer forms the backbone of climate research. The use of radiocarbon in speleothem science is greatly increasing and its potential is becoming widely acknowledged.

This workshop on radiocarbon will be split in two sections. One part will focus on the use of radiocarbon for dating stalagmites, in particular when U-Th methods fail. Presently, there are some approaches available, which are able to provide appropriate age-depth relationships for speleothems using radiocarbon, despite the potential variations in the reservoir effect. We will discuss these approaches and compare their performance. In this part of the workshop, we will also encourage participants to bring their own datasets and establish radiocarbon-based chronologies for their stalagmites. The second part of the workshop will provide an overview of the strength of radiocarbon as an environmental tracer, which is related to various climate parameters. Important progress has been made within the last decade to decipher the various processes affecting stalagmite radiocarbon concentrations, e.g., soil organic matter age and carbonate dissolution conditions. We will also introduce the use of software that is able to estimate the initial radiocarbon concentrations at the time of carbonate deposition and to disentangle these processes. In this part of the workshop you will also have the opportunity to test the software on your own datasets.


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