Workshops will run simultaneously. Please only select one.

Speleothem Data Analysis using the SISAL Database

Convenors: Kira Rehfeld (University of Heidelberg, Germany), Janica Bühler (University of Heidelberg, Germany) and Josefine Axelsson (Stockholm University, Sweden) 

Description: The goal of this workshop is to provide training to interested researchers in using the SISAL database on Speleothem Isotopes (; Atsawawaranunt et al., 2018).  First, you will be introduced to the SISAL workbooks, which provide the standardised means to submit and upload new speleothem records to the database. You will actively enter data, which can be new speleothem records which you could bring along or synthetic records that we will provide for the purpose of the workshop. Second, you will learn how to run quality control scripts to ensure that the spreadsheets contain all necessary information. Then, you will learn to query and screen the database using R and python. Based on your selected sites, you will plot time series and maps. Further, you will do some statistical analyses to the data such as applying temporal filters and computing correlations.

Date: Tuesday 19th July, 2022 - Afternoon (1 session)

Participant Limit: 20

Cost: €20

Requirements: Please bring a laptop to the workshop as computer facilities will not be provided.

Please complete the following BEFORE the workshop.

(1) Install RStudio and trial a random code such as 3*4 or print(‘Hello world!‘).

(2) Download the SISAL database from here.

(3) If you prefer to use MySQL instead of RStudio, you can find details on how to implement the database here (see Section 4. Contents). MySQL can be downloaded through The workshop will mainly demonstrate R for filtering and using the database, so MySQL is only optional.


Speleothem Petrography and Microstratigraphy: from the Micro to the Nanoscale

Convenors: Andrea Borsato & Silvia Frisia (The University of Newcastle, Australia)

Description: Crystallization processes (nucleation and growth) have a role in the “kinetic” incorporation of isotopes and trace elements in calcium carbonate crystals. Non-equilibrium incorporation of chemical species can be explained by ultra-high resolution investigation and allows advances in our capability of interpretation of climate proxies to be made. Therefore, if we strive towards an accurate interpretation of speleothem proxy data, we should start from petrographic observations to check for the presence of non-equilibrium fabrics and possible diagenetic modifications.

This petrography workshop is divided into three sections. In the first part the participants will learn how to recognise the most common types of speleothem fabrics and hiatuses, as well as to understand their characteristics and the known climate and environmental parameters underpinning their development. They will also learn about the most technically advanced techniques for nano-scale investigation, what information they provide and where to access them. The second part will focus on the construction of the petrographic log. There will be an open discussion about different approaches utilised to convert petrographic observations in numerical values in order to compare petrography with speleothem geochemistry. High resolution scanning of polished speleothem slabs will be introduced as one of the best tools to construct fast petrographic logs from very long stalagmite samples or flowstones. In the third part, the participants will observe under a petrographic microscope thin sections of the most common speleothem fabric. We also encourage participants to bring their own thin sections and/or polished speleothem slabs, or other types of continental carbonates.

Date: Tuesday 19th July, 2022 - Afternoon (2 sessions)

Participant Limit: 15

Cost: €30

Requirements: Please bring your own thin sections and/or images of thin sections if you have them. Additionally, please bring a laptop and have the corresponding images of the polished slabs available. If you do not have your own thin sections, do not worry, we can also provide you with some.

The Depth-Age Model

Convenors: Stacy Carolin (University of Cambridge, UK) & Sebastian Breitenbach (University of Northumbria, UK)

Description: A robust chronological framework is the foundation for any palaeo-environmental reconstruction. Age-depth modeling refers to the process of assigning ages to all proxy values measured along a profile. Normally, the number of known dates (be it radiometrical dates or layer counts or other independently determined values) is much smaller than the number of proxy measurements along the depth axis of a palaeo-environmental archive, which necessitates the use of inter- and extrapolation schemes to derive proxy time series.

Multiple interpolation schemes have been employed in speleothem science to assign ages to proxy measurements: linear interpolation, spline interpolation, StalAge, OxCal, COPRA, and others. In this workshop we will begin with an overview on depth-age modeling. We will then introduce two select programs available — COPRA and OxCal -- by guiding participants on how to install the software, import data, and produce depth-age models in eachOnce participants are confident in their abilities to use these programs, we will investigate chosen example U/Th sample sets and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the two interpolation schemes given each example U/Th datasets’ limitations. The investigative analysis presented can be applied to other age/proxy interpolation schemes for further comparisons.


Date: Tuesday 19th July, 2022 - Afternoon (2 sessions)

Participant Limit: c.40

Cost: €30

Requirements: Please bring a laptop to the workshop as computer facilities will not be provided.

The Value of Radiocarbon in Speleothem Science

Convenors: Franziska Lechleitner (University of Bern, Switzerland) and Petra Bajo (Croatian Geological Institute)

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.

Date: Tuesday 19th July, 2022 - Afternoon (2 sessions)

Participant Limit: c. 20

Cost: €30

 Requirements: Please bring a laptop to the workshop as computer facilities will not be provided.


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