Adams, B. Bermuda Biological Station for Research REU, jbal@acpub.duke.edu

 
OXYGEN ISOTOPES AND THE LEAMINGTON CAVE ENVIRONMENT: THE KEY TO AN ANCIENT HURRICANE PROXY
 
Tropical cyclone rains have anomalously low oxygen isotope values compared to normal summer rains: oxygen isotope signatures may serve as proxies for hurricane activity. If the isotope signals of hurricanes were deposited in equilibrium with speleothem and can be accurately obtained, predictive capabilities of seasonal tropical cyclone forecasts would be enhanced, thereby minimizing damage that would be incurred. The feasibility of using isotopic information incorporated into speleothem was examined by monitoring Leamington Cave, Bermuda. Humidity was measured at two locations within the cave: temperature within the cave followed external trends with greater fluctuation near the entrance than in the cave interior. Tidal fluctuations in the cave's pool were monitored to estimate the air flow induced by tidal pumping. Rain and associated drip rates were measured and samples of both were analyzed for oxygen isotopes over time. Those results suggest that mixing in the epikarst occurs. Oxygen isotopes in drip waters were constant over time for individual stalactites, but there were significant differences between samples from various stalactite types. These preliminary data warrant a more comprehensive study of the environmental conditions in Leamington Cave in order to determine if isotopic information in cave deposits could be used as a hurricane proxy.
 
Day: Wednesday, Feb. 3
Time: Poster
Location: Sweeney Center
 
Code: SS54WE1541S