Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Geology (PhD)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences


Jimmy F Diehl


This thesis presents a paleoclimatic/paleoenvironmental study conducted on clastic cave sediments of the Moravian Karst, Czech Republic. The study is based on environmental magnetic techniques, yet a wide range of other scientific methods was used to obtain a clearer picture of the Quaternary climate. My thesis also presents an overview of the significance of cave deposits for paleoclimatic reconstructions, explains basic environmental magnetic techniques and offers background information on the study area – a famous karst region in Central Europe with a rich history.

In Kulna Cave magnetic susceptibility variations and in particular variations in pedogenic susceptibility yield a detailed record of the palaeoenvironmental conditions during the Last Glacial Stage. The Kulna long-term climatic trends agree with the deep-sea SPECMAP record, while the short-term oscillations correlate with rapid changes in the North Atlantic sea surface temperatures. Kulna Cave sediments reflect the intensity of pedogenesis controlled by short-term warmer events and precipitation over the mid-continent and provide a link between continental European climate and sea surface temperatures in the North Atlantic during the Last Glacial Stage. Given the number of independent climate proxies determined from the entrance facies of the cave and their high resolution, Kulna is an extremely important site for studying Late Pleistocene climate.

In the interior of Spiralka Cave, a five meter high section of fine grained sediments deposited during floods yields information on the climatic and environmental conditions of the last millenium. In the upper 1.5 meters of this profile, mineral magnetic and other non-magnetic data indicate that susceptibility variations are controlled by the concentration of magnetite and its magnetic grain size. Comparison of our susceptibility record to the instrumental record of winter temperature anomalies shows a remarkable correlation. This correlation is explained by coupling of the flooding events, cultivation of land and pedogenetic processes in the cave catchment area. A combination of mineral magnetic and geochemical proxies yields a detail picture of the rapidly evolving climate of the near past and tracks both natural and human induced environmental changes taking place in the broader region.

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