As with many terrestrial areas, the British Quaternary sequence is characterised by incomplete, fragmentary records, whose correlation is based on stratigraphic or biostratigraphic techniques due to the lack of radiometric ages beyond the similar to 40 kyr limit of C-14 dating. Speleothems (secondary cave calcite deposits) offer a significant advantage over many sources of palaeoenvironmental information; they can be dated to a high precision and accuracy by uranium-thorium (U-238-Th-230) thermal ionisation and inductively coupled plasma (ICP) mass spectrometry in the time period back to 500 kyr. They may also contain sufficient well-preserved pollen representative of contemporary vegetation above the cave to allow palaeoenvironmental reconstruction. This study adopts the novel approach of combining pollen and thermal ionisation mass spectrometric (TIMS) U-Th dating of British speleothems to produce well-constrained palaeoenvironmental records. We report for the first time precisely dated records of pollen assemblages from speleothems suggesting the presence of thermophilous arboreal species in phases previously considered to have been consistently cool or cold and devoid of trees. Copyright (C) 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
- U-Th dating
- British late quaternary