Movie: Geoscience collections and climate change studies

In the late 1970s the Australian Museum gained the rock collection and field notes from James Lambeth's 1947- 48 expedition to the sub-Antarctic Heard Island Volcano. A new study on this collection by a PhD student from the University of Tasmania is using isotope and other analysis methods on these rocks to find clues to former ice and sea-levels to reconstruct recent climate changes.

Limestone caves are 'time vaults' which preserve climate data within their calcite speleothems. Measurements of Uranium/Thorium/Lead isotopes, luminescence and palaeomagnetism can give ages, while oxygen & carbon isotopes can correlate to rainfall, warmer/colder periods, and surface vegetation data, over a several 1000 to about 500,000 year time period, to reconstruct recent climate history.

© Australian Museum
Maxine Kauter
Maxine Kauter
Ross Pogson
Maxine Kauter

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