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A high-resolution paleoclimate record of precipitation variability from a stalagmite in northern Cuba spanning the late-Holocene




Steltenpohl, Gregory

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis



Restriction Status


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Date Available



I present a new stalagmite δ18O record, named CL, collected from Garibaldi Cave in Matanzas, Cuba that spans between 322 and 3,747 years before present (BP). This study investigates hydroclimate drivers in Cuba and their relationship with the greater Caribbean region through correlation analyses between changes in CL stalagmite δ18O to regional and global changes in surface temperatures and other climatic processes over the late Holocene. The CL δ18O record is interpreted to reflect precipitation amount based on modern observations and isotopic equilibrium calculations. Analyses of the CL δ18O record indicates a positive relationship between changes in Northern Hemisphere (NH) temperature and precipitation amount in Cuba over the late Holocene. A significant correlation between the CL stalagmite record and the Cariaco Basin Ti% record suggests the precipitation variability was closely linked to mean shifts in the position of the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) during the summer and that the convective activity associated with the ITCZ was enhanced at times without a concomitant convergence center position change. In addition, we propose that precipitation changes in Cuba during the Terminal Classic Period (TCP) collapse of the Maya civilization (1200 – 950 years BP) suggest precipitation reductions in the Yucatan Peninsula lowlands and reflect Caribbean-wide precipitation reductions.