Climate dynamics during the penultimate glacial period recorded in a speleothem from Kanaan Cave, Lebanon (central Levant)

Carole Nehme*, Sophie Verheyden, Sebastian F.M. Breitenbach, David P. Gillikin, Anouk Verheyden, Hai Cheng, R. Lawrence Edwards, John Hellstrom, Stephen R. Noble, Andrew R. Farrant, Diana Sahy, Thomas Goovaerts, Ghada Salem, Philippe Claeys

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Little is known about terrestrial climate dynamics in the Levant during the penultimate interglacial-glacial period. To decipher the palaeoclimatic history of the Marine Oxygen Isotope Stage (MIS) 6 glacial period, a well-dated stalagmite (∼194 to ∼154 ka) from Kanaan Cave on the Mediterranean coast in Lebanon was analyzed for its petrography, growth history, and stable isotope geochemistry. A resolved climate record has been recovered from this precisely U-Th dated speleothem, spanning the late MIS 7 and early MIS 6 at low resolution and the mid-MIS 6 at higher resolution. The stalagmite grew discontinuously from ∼194 to ∼163 ka. More consistent growth and higher growth rates between ∼163 and ∼154 ka are most probably linked to increased water recharge and thus more humid conditions. More distinct layering in the upper part of the speleothem suggests strong seasonality from ∼163 ka to ∼154 ka. Short-term oxygen and carbon isotope excursions were found between ∼155 and ∼163 ka. The inferred Kanaan Cave humid intervals during the mid-MIS 6 follow variations of pollen records in the Mediterranean basins and correlate well with the synthetic Greenland record and East Asian summer monsoon interstadial periods, indicating short warm/wet periods similar to the Dansgaard-Oeschger events during MIS 4-3 in the eastern Mediterranean region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-25
Number of pages16
JournalQuaternary Research (United States)
Issue number1
Early online date25 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018


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