US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Quaternary Research 58, 197–199 (2002); doi:10.1006/qres.2002.2354


So-called annual banding has been identified in a number of speleothems in which the number of bands approximates the time interval between successive U-series dates. The apparent annual resolution of speleothem records, however, remains largely untested. Here we statistically compare variations in band thickness from a late Holocene stalagmite in Carlsbad Cavern, Southern New Mexico, USA, with three independent tree-ring chronologies form the same region.We found no correspondence. Although there may be various explanations for the discordance, this limited exercise suggests that banded stalagmites should be held to the same rigorous standards in chronology building and climatic inference as annually resolved tree rings, corals, and ice cores.