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Wisconsin Cave Reveals Clues to Climate Changes

Read full article here: Mirage News.


The study is based on a detailed chemical and physical analysis of a stalagmite that formed in the Cave of the Mounds, a tourist attraction and educational destination. The stalagmite the team analyzed grew extremely slowly – taking roughly 20,000 years to reach the length of a human pinky finger.

The finger-length subterranean rock formed from a complex process that began in the sky. Water that originally fell as precipitation from the atmosphere soaked into the ground and percolated through soil and cracks in bedrock, dissolving tiny bits of limestone along the way. Some of that dissolved limestone was then left behind as countless drips of water fell from the ceiling of Cave of the Mounds, gradually accumulating into thousands of exceedingly thin layers of a mineral called calcite.

Therein lies the key to reconstructing an ancient climate record. The oxygen trapped in the calcite exists in varieties – known as isotopes – scientists can use to glean information about the environmental conditions during the precipitation that formed it. That includes the temperature and possible sources of rain and snow that fell atop the Cave of the Mounds over thousands of years.

Read full article here: Mirage News.