Hypogean microclimatology and hydrology of the 800-900 m asl level in the Monte Corchia cave (Tuscany, Italy): preliminary considerations and implications for paleoclimatological studies

Ilaria Baneschi, Leonardo Piccini, Eleonora Regattieri, Ilaria Isola, Massimo Guidi, Licia Lotti, Francesco Mantelli, Marco Menichetti, Russell N. Drysdale, Giovanni Zanchetta

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3986/ac.v40i1.36

Abstract

The Monte Corchia Cave is one of the most promising sites for studying the paleoclimate of the Mediterranean basin, but its hydrology and hydrogeochemistry are still poorly known. In this paper, we report some meteoclimatic and hydrochemical data for different parts of the cave. Conductivity and water level data from La Gronda channel show that this system reacts rapidly to external meteoric events, indicating the presence of a conductive epikarst. Data on two different drips indicate that the physicochemical parameters, suchas conductivity, pH, δ13CDIC and drip rate depend on the local structural setting and water pathlength. The data presented show that Galleria delle Stalattiti (the focus of the paleoclimate research) has the most stable conditions in terms of temperature, and the dripwaters show constant pH, electrical conductivity, alkalinity, calcium and magnesium content and δ18O. Drip rate is not affected by rain events and displays long-term trends that require a longer period of monitoring for elucidating their nature. The preliminary data presented here corroborate the hypotheses suggesting Galleria delle Stalattiti as a good example of a “deep” hypogean system of Fairchild et al. (2007).

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.3986/ac.v40i1.36

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