Depositional continuity of seasonally laminated tufas: Implications for sigma 18O based palaeotemperatures

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


A ~ 100 ka old laminated tufa (freshwater carbonate) deposit from central Greece was studied for evidence of a seasonal origin of the laminae. Annual laminar couplets (6 mm thick) consist of dense ß bands of spring–early summer calcified cyanobacterial bushes and porous a bands of autumn precipitated calcite on un-clustered cyanobacterial filaments. This is evidence of likely seasonal palaeoclimate during the last interglacial in Greece. d18O variability is explained by seasonal changes in stream water temperature; however, the total range in d18O translates to ~ 6 °C (± 1 °C) almost certainly underestimating the likely actual range of ~ 17 °C. As abrupt changes in d18O inferred temperatures (from warming to cooling and vice versa) occur exactly on sharp petrographic lamina boundaries, we infer that mid-summer and mid-winter precipitates are missing. We suggest that when stream conditions (summer drying and winter cold) are unsuited to cyanobacterial substrate development, no tufa build-up occurs. Laminated tufas are thus incomplete records of annual tufa formation, as are the d18O based palaeoclimate records they preserve. They require careful petrographic study linked to high resolution sampling for d18O to ensure that palaeotemperature ranges are not seriously underestimated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-167
Number of pages8
JournalGlobal and Planetary Change
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Cite this