Many factors impact the shape and color of speleothem formations including the rate and direction of water seepage, the amount of acid in the water, the temperature and humidity content of a cave, air currents, the above ground climate, the amount of annual rainfall and the density of the plant cover.Most cave chemistry revolves around calcium carbonate (Ca CO).Th for young samples, although this problem becomes less significant or even insignificant with increasing age.

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It is hypothesised that this offset is due to a combination of the nature of the organic carbon transported from the source organic matter pools, and reworking of both modern and old organic carbon by in situ microbial communities.

Thermal ionisation mass-spectrometry was used to determine the U and Pb isotopic ratios and concentrations for subsamples of a stalactite from Winnats Head Cave, Peak District, UK.

The median age of the more modern dripstone was 336 cal yr BP, with a 95.4% probability age range of 148–486 cal yr BP.

These results provide very approximate ball-park estimates of the age of the sample, but are consistently too old when compared to the known maximum ages of formation.

Calthemites which occur on concrete structures, are created by completely different chemistry to speleothems.

*A Stalactite *B Soda straws *C Stalagmites *D Coned stalagmite *E Stalagnate or column *F Drapery *G Drapery *H Helictites *I Moonmilk *J Sinter pool, rimstone *K Calcite crystals *L Sinter terrace *M Karst *N Body of water *O Shield *P Cave clouds *Q Cave pearls *R Tower cones *S Shelfstones *T Baldacchino canopy *U Bottlebrush stalactite *V Conulite *W Flowstone *X Trays *Y Calcite rafts *Z Cave popcorn or coralloids *AA Frostworks *AB Flowstone *AC Splattermite *AD Speleoseismites *AE Boxworks *AF Oriented stalactite *AG collapsed rubble Speleothems take various forms, depending on whether the water drips, seeps, condenses, flows, or ponds.

C) are recorded well in speleothems, giving high-resolution data that can show annual variation in temperature (oxygen isotopes primarily reflect rainfall temperature) and precipitation (carbon isotopes primarily reflect C3/C4 plant composition and plant productivity, but the interpretation is often complicated).

By sampling along a dated transect of a speleothem, these isotope values and speleothem growth rates provide a paleoclimate records similar to those from ice cores.

The principal proxies measured are oxygen and carbon isotopes and trace cations.

These indicators, alone and in conjunction with other climate proxy records, can provide clues to past precipitation, temperature, and vegetation changes over the last ~ 500,000 years.

Calcareous speleothems form via carbonate dissolution reactions.