A Caltech Library Service

Trace metal and carbon isotopic variations in cave dripwater and stalagmite geochemistry from northern Borneo

Partin, Judson W. and Cobb, Kim M. and Adkins, Jess F. and Tuen, Andrew A. and Clark, Brian (2013) Trace metal and carbon isotopic variations in cave dripwater and stalagmite geochemistry from northern Borneo. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 14 (9). pp. 3567-3585. ISSN 1525-2027.

PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


We investigate stalagmite trace metal ratios and carbon isotopic composition (δ^(13)C) as potential paleoclimate proxies by comparing cave dripwaters, stalagmites, and bedrock composition from Gunung Mulu and Gunung Buda National Parks in northern Borneo, a tropical rainforest karst site. Three year long, biweekly time series of dripwater Mg/Ca, Sr/Ca, and δ^(13)C from several drips at our site are not correlated with rainfall variability, indicative of a relatively weak relationship between hydroclimate and dripwater geochemistry at our site. However, combining all of the dripwater geochemical data gathered over four field trips to our site (N > 300 samples), we find that drips with highly variable Mg[Sr]/Ca have relatively invariable δ^(18)O values close to the mean. We hypothesize that increased residence times translate into reduced variance in dripwater δ^(18)O through mixing in the epikarst as well as increased Mg[Sr]/Ca values through increased calcite precipitation in the epikarst. Mg/Ca, Sr/Ca, and δ^(13)C time series from three overlapping stalagmites that grew over the last 27 kyrs are characterized by strong centennial-scale variations, and bear little resemblance to previously published, well-reproduced δ^(18)O time series from the same stalagmites. The only shared signal among the three stalagmites' geochemical time series is a relative decrease of 1‰ in δ^(13)C from the Last Glacial Maximum to the Holocene, consistent with a transition from savannah (C4) to rainforest (C3) conditions documented in nearby records. Taken together, our study indicates that stalagmite Mg[Sr]/Ca ratios are poor indicators of hydroclimate conditions at our site, while stalagmite δ^(13)C exhibits some reproducible signals on glacial-interglacial timescales.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Adkins, Jess F.0000-0002-3174-5190
Additional Information:© 2013 American Geophysical Union. Received 11 January 2013; Revised 24 June 2013; Accepted 30 June 2013; Published 5 September 2013. The authors wish to thank the staff at Gunung Mulu National Park, especially Jenny Malang and Syria Lejau, who collected the time series of cave dripwaters. We also thank Joseph Gau and Sue Clark of Gunung Mulu National Park, and Johnny Baei Hassan of Logan Bunut National Park. Joel Despain, George Prest, Shane Fryer, Jed Mosenfelder, and Brad Hacker provided field assistance during the 2003 field trip to Gunung Buda National Park. Joel Despain, Jean Krejca, Vivian Loftin, Pat Kambesis, and Alan Cressler provided field assistance during the 2006 field trip to Gunung Mulu and Gunung Buda. Nele Meckler and Stacy Carolin provided field assistance during the 2008 field trip to Gunung Mulu. Diego Fernandez provided assistance in the geochemical measurements of dripwaters from the 2003 field trip, while Matt Johnson and Nitya Sharma provided assistance with all other dripwater geochemical measurements. The authors thank two anonymous reviewers for very helpful comments. Funding for this work was provided by NSF-ATM award 0645291 to KMC and NSF-AGS award 0903099 to JFA.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:stalagmite; speleothem; stable isotopic composition; trace metal ratio; Western Pacific warm pool; paleoclimate
Issue or Number:9
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20131121-131626968
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Partin, J. W., K. M. Cobb, J. F. Adkins, A. A. Tuen, and B. Clark (2013), Trace metal and carbon isotopic variations in cave dripwater and stalagmite geochemistry from northern Borneo, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 14, 3567–3585, doi:10.1002/ggge.20215.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:42618
Deposited By: Jason Perez
Deposited On:22 Nov 2013 21:04
Last Modified:24 Feb 2020 10:30

Repository Staff Only: item control page