Carbonates and Evaporites

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 153–167 | Cite as

Chronology of discontinuities and petrology of speleothems as paleoclimatic indicators of the Klamath Mountains, southwest Oregon, USA

  • Steven TurgeonEmail author
  • Joyce Lundberg


Speleothems from Oregon Caves National Monument, a dissolutional cave system located in the Klamath Mountains of southwest Oregon, are composed mainly (>90%) of columnar calcite crystals. Columnar calcites form through syndepositional lateral coalescence of crystallites and precipitate under stable hydrodynamic conditions in humid, temperate climates. Numerous discontinuities from short-lived events (<100 years) punctuate the calcites. Minor fabrics, such as transitional- and randomly-oriented elongate calcites are seeded on these discontinuities and detrital layers. Columnar calcites eventually overrun sub-horizontally oriented crystals as a result of competitive growth. Large (≈750 μm) crystal terminations indicate growth under increased water film resulting from greater flow and/or ponding. 14 Useries dates provide mean growth rates of 5.6 to 27.9 mm/ka during interglacial periods (marine isotope stages 11 through 9, substage 5e, and late stage 2 through stage 1), and indicate short growth intervals during early-to mid-interglacial periods. Several outcrop-scale discontinuities represent periods of prolonged growth stoppage. Growth cessation occurred during the colder phases of stages 8–9 and 6–7, which translate into hiatuses of 77.5 and 99 ka respectively. Given the sensitivity of alpine regions to climate change and the lack of evidence for continental or alpine glaciation, the hiatuses are presumed to be caused by groundwater freezing during extended periglacial conditions, triggered by the lowering of periglacial thresholds by as much as 1800 m during glacial periods.


Calcite Aragonite Last Glacial Maximum Marine Isotope Stage Calcite Crystal 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. BAKER, A. and SMART, P.L., 1995, Recent flowstone growth rate: Field measurements in comparison to theoretical predictions:Chemical Geology, v. 122, p. 121–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. BAKER, A., SMART, P.L., EDWARDS, R.L. and RICHARDS, D.A., 1993a, Annual growth banding in a cave stalagmite:Nature, v. 364, p. 518–520.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. BAKER, A., SMART, P.L. and FORD, D.C., 1993b, Northwest European palaeoclimate as indicated by growth frequency variations of secondary calcite deposits:Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, v. 100, p. 291–301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. BRAND, U. and VEIZER, J., 1980, Chemical diagenesis of a multicomponent carbonate system-1: Trace elements:Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, v. 50, p. 1219–1236.Google Scholar
  5. BROOKS, H.C., 1989, Limestone deposits in Oregon. State of Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, Special Paper 19, 72 p.Google Scholar
  6. BUCKLEY, H.E., 1951, Crystal growth. Wiley, New York, 571 p.Google Scholar
  7. COLMAN, S.M. and PIERCE, K.L., 1992, Varied records of early Wisconsinan alpine glaciation in the western United States derived from weathering-rind thickness,in Clark, P.U. and Lea, P.D., eds., The Last Interglacial-Glacial Transition in North America, Geological Society of America Special Paper no 270, p. 269–278.Google Scholar
  8. DICKSON, J.A.D., 1978, Length-slow and length-fast calcite: A tale of two elongations:Geology, v. 6, p. 560–561.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. DICKSON, J.A.D., 1990, Carbonate mineralogy and chemistry,in Tucker, M.E. and Wright, V.P., Carbonate Sedimentology. Blackwell, Oxford, p. 284–313.Google Scholar
  10. DREYBRODT, W., 1996, Chemical Kinetics, Speleothem Growth and Climate,in Climate Change: The Karst Record. Karst Waters Institute Special Publication, no 2, p. 33–34.Google Scholar
  11. EMILIANI, C. and SHACKLETON, N.J., 1974, The Brunhes epoch: Isotopic paleotemperatures and geochronology:Science, v. 183, p. 511–514.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. FISHBECK, R. and MÜLLER, G., 1971, Monohydrocalcite, hydromagnesite, nesqueharite, dolomite, aragonite and calcite in speleothems of the Frankische Scheiz, West Germany:Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, v. 33, p. 87–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. FOLK, R.L. and ASSERETO, R., 1976, Comparative fabrics of length-slow and length-fast calcite and calcitized aragonite in a Holocene speleothem, Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico:Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, v. 46, p. 486–496.Google Scholar
  14. FRISIA, S., BINI, A. and QUINIF, Y., 1993, Morphologic, crystallographic and isotopic study of an ancient flowstone (Grotta di Cunturines, Dolomiti) — Implications for paleoenvironmental reconstructions:Spéléochronos, no. 5, p. 3–18.Google Scholar
  15. FRISIA, S., 1996a, Petrographic evidences of diagenesis in speleothems: some examples:Spéléochronos, no 7, p. 21–30.Google Scholar
  16. FRISIA, S., 1996b, TEM and SEM investigation of speleothem carbonates: another key to the interpretation of environmental parameters,in Climate Change: The Karst Record. Karst Waters Institute Special Publication, no 2, p. 33–34.Google Scholar
  17. GASCOYNE, M., 1992, Palaeoclimate determination from cave calcite deposits:Quaternary Science Reviews, v. 11, p. 609–632.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. GASCOYNE, M., SCHWARCZ, H.P., and FORD, D.C., 1983, Uranium-series ages of speleothem from northwest England: correlation with Quaternary climate:Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, v. B301, p. 143–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. GENTY, D. and QUINIF, Y., 1996, Annually laminated sequences in the internal structure of some belgian stalagmites-Importance for paleoclimatology:Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, v. 66, p. 275–288.Google Scholar
  20. GONZÁLEZ, L.A., CARPENTER, S.J. and LOHMANN, K.C., 1992, Inorganic calcite morphology: roles of fluid chemistry and fluid flow:Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, v. 62, p. 382–399.Google Scholar
  21. GRADZIŃSKI, M., ROSPONDEK, M. and SZULC, J., 1996, Microfacies types of calcite speleothem: hydrodynamical and chemical controls of their origin,in Climate Change: The Karst Record. Karst Waters Institute Special Publication, no 2, p. 45.Google Scholar
  22. HERCMAN, H., STARNAWSKA, E. and ZINK, E., 1996, Detritic contamination as a (sic) indicator of the breaks in the speleothems deposition,in Climate Change: The Karst Record. Karst Waters Institute Special Publication, no 2, p. 51–55.Google Scholar
  23. HEUSSER, C.J. and HEUSSER, L.E., 1990, Long continental pollen sequence from Washington State (U.S.A.): correlation of upper levels with marine pollen-oxygen isotope stratigraphy through substage 5e:Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, v. 79, p. 63–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. KAUFMAN, A. and BROECKER, W.S., 1965, Comparison of Th230 and C14 ages for carbonate materials from Lakes Lahontan and Bonneville:Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 70, p. 4039–4054.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. KENDALL, A.C., 1977, Fascicular-optic calcite: a replacement after bundled acicular carbonate cement:Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, v. 47, p. 1056–1062.Google Scholar
  26. KENDALL, A.C., 1993, Columnar calcite in speleothems: discussion:Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, v. 63, p. 550–552.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. KENDALL, A.C. and BROUGHTON, P.L., 1978, Origin of fabrics in speleothems composed of columnar calcite crystals:Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, v. 48, p. 519–538.Google Scholar
  28. KENDALL, A.C. and TUCKER, M.E., 1973, Radiaxial fibrous calcite: a replacement after acicular carbonate:Sedimentology, v. 20, p. 365–389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. LAURITZEN, S.-E., 1995, High-Resolution Paleotemperature Proxy Record for the Last Interglaciation Based on Norwegian Speleothems:Quaternary Research, v. 43, p. 133–146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. LAURITZEN, S.-E. and LUNDBERG, 1999, Speleothems and climate: a special issue ofThe Holocene:The Holocene, v. 9, p. 643–647.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. LOHMANN, K.C., 1988, Geochemical Patterns of Meteoric Diagenetic Systems and Their Application to Studies of Paleokarst,in James, N.P. and Choquette, P.W., eds., Paleokarst. Springer-Verlag, New York, p. 58–80.Google Scholar
  32. MARTINSON, D.G., PISIAS, N.G., HAYS, J.D., IMBRIE, J., MOORE, T.C., Jr. and SHACKLETON, N.J., 1987, Age dating and the orbital theory of the ice ages-Development of a high-resolution 0 to 300,000-year chronostratigraphy:Quaternary Research, v. 27, p. 1–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. MOORE, G.W., 1962, The growth of stalactites.Bulletin of the National Speleological Society, v. 24, p. 95–106.Google Scholar
  34. MOORE, G.W. and NICHOLAS, B.G., 1964, Speleology: The study of caves. Heath and Co., Boston, 120 p.Google Scholar
  35. ONAC, B.P., 1997, Crystallography of Speleothems,in Hill, C. and Forti, P., Cave Minerals of the World, 2nd Edition. National Speleological Society, Huntsville, p. 230–236.Google Scholar
  36. ORR, E.L., ORR, W.N. and BALDWIN, E.M., 1992, Geology of Oregon, Fourth Edition. Kendall/Hunt, Dubuque, 254 p.Google Scholar
  37. PORTER, S.C., 1977, Present and past glaciation threshold in the Cascade Range, Washington, U.S.A.-Topographic and climatic controls, and paleoclimatic implications.Journal of Glaciology, v. 18, p. 101–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. PORTER, S.C., PIERCE, K.L., and HAMILTON, T.D., 1983, Late Wisconsin mountain glaciation in the western United States,in Porter, S.C., ed., Late Quaternary environments of the United States, v. 1, The Late Pleistocene. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, p. 71–114.Google Scholar
  39. SUESS, E. and FÜTTERER, D., 1972, Aragonitic ooids: experimental precipitation from seawater in the presence of humic acid:Sedimentology, v. 19, p. 129–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. THRAILKILL, J., 1971, Carbonate deposition in Carlsbad Cavern:Journal of Geology, v. 79, p. 683–395.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. WELLS, R.E. and HELLER, P.L., 1988, The relative contribution of accretion, shear, and extension to Cenozoic tectonic rotation in the Pacific Northwest:Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 100, p. 325–338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre géoscientifique d’Ottawa-Carleton, Dept. of Earth SciencesCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Dept. of Geography and Environmental StudiesCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada

Personalised recommendations