Sunday afternoon, 30th of July: with our luggage full of sample bags, photo cameras, a drone, spare batteries, pollen traps, gum boots and overalls, we got on a plane to Perth to visit some beautiful caves in WA. A really exciting area, especially for palynology, because southwest Australia has one of the most divers vegetation on Earth and it is still uncertain why!Read More
Tim Pollard and Russell Drysdale visited Corchia Cave (Italy) to drill some "reconnaissance minicores" in the quest to find a complete speleothem record spanning MIS11c. Tim is working on speleothem records of past interglacials for his PhD, and this is one of his target time intervals. We also drilled another ~45 mm diameter core through the subaqueous speleothem in Laghetto, a cave pool in Corchia. We were ably assisted by our Italian colleagues Gianni Zanchetta and Eleonora Regattieri from the University of Pisa.
Finding the right speleothem for a project is a precarious and potentially destructive business, so 'mini-coring' is a quick and environmentally friendly way to proceed.
Here were are using a diamond-crowned corer, 5 cm in length and with a 5 mm diameter. The corer is water-cooled using an garden water pump. We use a Makita 18V cordless drill, which has lots of grunt (don't use it in hammer mode!). The deepest part of the core is used for dating. Once we've run the dates, we will return to the cave to select the appropriate stalagmite for sampling.
Today we set out on our annual migration north to the Barkly karst - hot and humid caves that preserve archives of the Australian monsoon. Keep an eye out for some videos and photos!