EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Linking cave sediments and soil magnetism in the Urșilor cave (Romania)

Cristian George Panaiotu1, Cristian Necula1, Relu D. Roban2, Alexandru Petculescu3, Ionut-Cornel Mirea3, Luchiana Faur3, and Silviu Constantin3
Cristian George Panaiotu et al.
  • 1University of Bucharest, Faculty of Physics, Paleomagnetic Laboratory, Magurele, Romania (
  • 2University of Bucharest, Faculty of Geology, Bucharest, Romania
  • 3“Emil Racovița” Institute of Speleology, Bucharest, Romania

Cyclical changes in the magnetic mineral assemblages have been observed in numerous sedimentary records confirming the relationship between rock magnetism and past global change. Several studies have shown that the magnetic susceptibility data of cave sediments reflect both long- and short-term climatic oscillations. These magnetic susceptibility variations are attributed to changes in climate-controlled pedogenesis which influence the production of low coercivity magnetic mineral phases, magnetite, and maghemite outside the cave. These soils with climate-dependent magnetic properties are then washed, blown, or tracked into the cave where they accumulate, creating the changes observed in rock magnetic data. We present a rockmagnetism study of the sediments from the Urșilor cave and the soils above the cave. Our focus is the detailed characterization of the ferromagnetic mineralogy preserved in the cave sediments and its links with potential soil sources. In the cave, we sampled four sections (2-3 m high) consisting mainly of silts and clays, with some sand layers. The age of the sediments is older than 40 ka. At the surface, we sampled various types of soils from 9 sites. For all samples, we measured: variation of magnetic susceptibility with frequency (976 and 15616 Hz), the anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility, isothermal remanent magnetization, and anhysteretic remanent magnetization. Because soils are characterized by the presence of superparamagnetic magnetite produced by pedogenesis which can be detected by the frequency dependence of magnetic susceptibility, we also measured the frequency dependence of soils and selected cave sediment samples at 13 frequencies (between 128 and 512000 Hz). Multi-frequencies measurements of the magnetic susceptibility of recent soils show that all the sampled soils have a strong frequency dependence indicating the presence of superparamagnetic particles produced by pedogenesis. Most of the sediment samples have an important frequency dependence similar to the one observed in the recent soils. As a preliminary conclusion, we can state that most of the fine cave sediments contain superparamagnetic particles, which can be probably attributed to soils transported into the cave by erosion. These results suggest that during the deposition of high magnetic susceptibility sediments it was a climate favorable for intense pedogenesis. The interpretation of the intervals with lower values of magnetic susceptibility is still under investigation to decide if represents a climatic signal or a change in the dynamics of sediment transport. Acknowledgment: The research leading to these results has received funding from the EEA Grants 2014-2021, under Project contract no. EEA-RO-NO-2018-0126.

How to cite: Panaiotu, C. G., Necula, C., Roban, R. D., Petculescu, A., Mirea, I.-C., Faur, L., and Constantin, S.: Linking cave sediments and soil magnetism in the Urșilor cave (Romania), EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-2973,, 2021.


Display file