CRF Blog

The Secrets of Earth’s History May Be in Its Caves

by Shruti Modi

In The Secrets of Earth’s History May Be in Its Caves for Smithsonian, J. Madeleine Nash discusses a scientist who is using a new way to learn about what the Earth’s climate was like thousands of years ago.

Edwards, a geochemist at the University of Minnesota and a pioneer in the use of cave formations to document ancient climate, is not planning to collect stalagmites today. But two specimens severed from their moorings when the owner of the cave complex, Spring Valley Caverns, opened a deeper passageway recently provided Edwards and his colleagues with a record of extreme rainfall events over the past 3,000 years. Edwards wonders if some of Spring Valley’s stalagmites could contain older records still, dating back to when giant glaciers covered much of the Northern Hemisphere or even to one of the distant warm periods, or interglacials, that punctuated the ice age world. [more]