Bahamian speleothem reveals temperature decrease associated with Heinrich stadials

Monica M. Arienzo, Peter K Swart, Ali Pourmand, Kenneth Broad, Amy C Clement, Lisa N. Murphy, Hubert B. Vonhof, Brian Kakuk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations


Temperature reconstructions across Heinrich stadials 1-3 are presented from an absolute-dated speleothem from Abaco Island in the Bahamas to understand the nature of climate change across these intervals in the subtropical Atlantic. The stalagmite carbonate record, dated by the U-Th geochronometry technique, includes higher δ<sup>18</sup>O and δ<sup>13</sup>C values within Heinrich stadials 1, 2, and 3 followed by rapid declines at the end of the stadials. To aid in the interpretation of these results, the δ<sup>18</sup>O of fluid inclusions associated with the Heinrich stadials were also analyzed. These measurements, which allowed for the relative influence of temperature and δ<sup>18</sup>O of precipitation to be distinguished, demonstrate minimal changes in the δ<sup>18</sup>O of fluid inclusions, suggesting that changes in the δ<sup>18</sup>O values of the speleothem carbonate associated with Heinrich stadials 1-3 are principally driven by an average ~4°C temperature decrease, rather than a change in the δ<sup>18</sup>O of the rainfall (hence rainfall amount). These findings support previous work in the North Atlantic and are consistent with the climate response to a weakening of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number13446
Pages (from-to)377-386
Number of pages10
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
StatePublished - Nov 15 2015


  • Bahamas
  • Fluid inclusion
  • Heinrich event
  • Speleothem
  • Stable isotope

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science

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