EARTH SCIENCE > PALEOCLIMATE > LAND RECORDS > CAVE DEPOSITS
Cave deposits, or speleothems, are mineral formations in caves. While the water
flows, the speleothems grow in thin, shiny layers. The amount of growth is an
indicator of how much ground water dripped into the cave. Little growth might
indicate a drought, just as rapid growth could point to heavy precipitation.
When the speleothems stop growing, the outside becomes dirty and eroded in
places, giving it a dull appearance. Spelothems can be dated by measuring how
much uranium has decayed. Evidence of past climate changes can be inferred from
measuring oxygen isotopes in speleothems.
From: Earth Observatory, Paleoclimatology: Written in the Earth by Holli