This study demonstrates the feasibility of speleothem magnetism as a paleo-hydrology proxy in speleothems growing in semi-arid conditions. Soil-derived magnetic particles in speleothems retain valuable information on the physicochemical conditions of the overlying soil, and changes in bedrock hydrology. Yet, the link between magnetic and isotopic proxies of speleothems has been only partly established. We reveal strong coupling between the inflow of magnetic particles (quantified using the magnetic flux index, IRMflux) and δ13C in two Holocene speleothems from Soreq Cave (Israel). The stalagmite record spans from ca. 9.7 to ca. 5.4 ka, capturing the warm-humid conditions associated with the early Holocene and the transition to mid-Holocene wet-dry cycles. Extremely low IRMflux during the early Holocene, indicating minimal contribution from the overlying soil, is accompanied by anomalously high δ13C (approaching bedrock values) hypothesized to be caused by high rainfall and soil erosion. By contrast, IRMflux during the mid-Holocene covaries with the saw-tooth cyclicity of δ13C and δ18O, interpreted as rapid fluctuations in rainfall amount. The peaks in IRMflux precede the negative (wet) δ13C peaks by ~60–120 yr. The apparent lag is explained as a rapid physical translocation of overlying soil particles via groundwater (high IRMflux) as a response to increasing rainfall, compared with slower soil organic matter turnover rates (10–102 yr).
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by the U.S.–Israel BiNational Science Fund grant #2016402, the U.S. National Science Foundation grant EAR-2044535, and the European Research Council Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, agreement No. 804490. We thank V. Gutkin for his help with SEM analysis, and L. Comas-Bru and M. Deininger for their comments. We thank three anonymous reviewers and K. Benison for their constructive reviews.
© 2022 The Authors. Gold Open Access: This paper is published under the terms of the CC-BY license.