Milankovitch-paced Termination II in a Nevada speleothem?



[1] The Devils Hole (DH) calcite record from the Great Basin, Nevada, provided the first radiometrically dated time series of late-Pleistocene climate fluctuations,. In doing so, DH suggested that the penultimate deglaciation, Termination II (T-II), occurred at 142 ± 3 ka, which is ∼10 kyr before the associated rise in summer insolation, helping to launch the “causality problem” for Milankovitch. The interpretation of the DH record has been subject to considerable discussion ever since. We present the first attempt to reproduce the DH record of an early T-II in the Great Basin based on a stalagmite from Lehman Caves, Nevada, which is ∼400 km northeast of Devils Hole. Our speleothem records at least the latter part of T-II over its period of growth from ∼133–129 ka, which appears to disagree with the early timing of T-II in DH. DH also exhibits important differences from many other paleoclimate records over the past two deglaciations, though these are reduced somewhat after ice-volume correcting DH δ18O. We suggest that the climatic signal in the DH record remains to be fully explained.