EGU22-1057, updated on 27 Mar 2022
EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Investigating δ13C values in stalagmites from tropical South America

Valdir F. Novello1, Kira Rehfeld1, and the South American Speleothem Group*
Valdir F. Novello and Kira Rehfeld and the South American Speleothem Group
  • 1Department of Geosciences, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany (
  • *A full list of authors appears at the end of the abstract

Multiple factors control δ13C values in speleothems and complicate their paleoclimatic and paleoenvironmental interpretation. Therefore, most studies avoid the presentation of δ13C values, and instead, focus only on δ18O. This development can be observed with regard to most recent cave studies from tropical South America, in which stalagmite δ18O were preferentially published without the consideration of δ13C data. Here we present a large δ13C dataset of 98 speleothem records covering multiple time scales from South America, of which 42 remained unpublished or were not available until now. Our main objective is concentrating on the support of existing and emerging databases, such as SISAL, and providing new data for the speleothem community and climate modelling.

As a first approach, we review the δ13C values for the last two millennia and evaluate the environmental influencing factors on this proxy, e.g., local hydroclimate, altitude, temperature, and abundant vegetation types. Our results indicate that the main factors controlling variations in δ13C values are due to changes in the local hydroclimate and, to a minor extent, in temperature. For this time period, most of the isotope records show a significant correlation between the δ13C and δ18O values, indicating a close relationship between local hydroclimate and large-scale atmospheric processes related to shifts of the South American Monsoon System (SAMS). Furthermore, in most of the karst systems studied here, the predominant occurrence of C3 plants growing on soils above the caves is responsible for a considerable lowering of δ13C values (≤6‰) in most of the speleothems.

South American Speleothem Group:

Valdir F. Novello1, Vitor Azevedo2, Nicolás M. Stríkis3, Francisco W. Cruz4, Xianfeng Wang5, Mathias Vuille6, José Leandro Pereira Silveira Campos4, James Apaéstegui7, Jean Sebastien Moquet8, Angela Ampuero4, Giselle Utida4, Gustavo Macedo Paula-Santos9, Plinio Jaqueto10, Luiz Carlos Ruiz Pessenda11, Daniel O. Breecker12, Ivo Karmann4, Martin Van Breukelen13, Hubert B. Vonhof14, Björn Klaes15, Kathleen Wendt16, Lowell Stott17, Barbara Wortham18, Haiwei Zhang19, Stephen Burns20, Hai Cheng19, R. Lawrence Edwards21, Kira Rehfeld1

How to cite: Novello, V. F. and Rehfeld, K. and the South American Speleothem Group: Investigating δ13C values in stalagmites from tropical South America, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-1057,, 2022.