Authors:Attila Demény, Alexandra Németh, Zoltán Kern, György Czuppon, Mihály Molnár, Szabolcs Leél-Őssy, Mihály Óvári, and József Stieber
Determination of the long-term behavior of cave systems and their response to changing environmental conditions is essential for further paleoclimate analyses of cave-hosted carbonate deposits. For this purpose, four actively forming stalagmites were collected in the Baradla Cave where a three-year monitoring campaign was also conducted. Based on textural characteristics and radiocarbon analyses, the stalagmites are composed of annual laminae, whose counting was used to establish age–depth relationships. Fast and slowly growing stalagmites have different stable carbon and oxygen isotope compositions as well as trace element contents that could be attributed to differences in drip water migration pathways. The stable isotope compositions were compared with meteorological data of the last ∼100 years indicating that carbon isotope compositions of the stalagmites may reflect changes in precipitation amount, while oxygen isotope compositions are more related to temperature variations. The combined textural–geochemical–meteorological interpretation lead us to select the isotope record that can best reflect variations in environmental conditions and can be used for further evaluation of the climate–proxy relationships.