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EES- Depth Study : Isotype Ratios in Stalagmites, Stalagtites and Corals

Year 12 EES

Finding Resources in Accessit


Here are some books that you may find useful during your studies.  Search the Bennies catalogue Accessit for more, or browse the Non-fiction collection NFS..


Nature Communications

Global analysis reveals climatic controls on the oxygen isotope composition of cave drip water.

Baker (public domain)

From late 2018 in New South Wales, Year 12 students studying “Earth and Environmental Science” are learning about how isotope ratios in stalagmites and stalactites can be used to provide evidence of climate variation.


Picture Climate- What can we learn from caves? One of nature’s truly awe-inspiring creations, caves and the unique rock formations inside them are not only breathtaking but are also natural recorders of climate.


Stalagmites record the chemical variations that are linked to climate. Caves in particular allow researchers to extend climate records much further back in time than tree rings do. 

Proxy Map

From the ice sheets of Antarctica and the seabed of the Atlantic, to the boreal forests of Europe and corals of southeast Asia, proxy data is found across the Earth’s land and ocean.

NOAA holds an archive of more than 10,000 proxy datasets covering more than a dozen categories. With its permission, Carbon Brief has mapped this data. 

Use the categories in the legend on the left to select a particular proxy or archive type, and the buttons in the top-right hand corner to zoom in and out. Clicking on an individual data point will reveal the period covered by the data, the site name and a link to NOAA’s reference webpage for further information.

You Tube

Two stalagmites collected from a cave in Iran recorded the changing climate over 128,000 years. Analyzing their chemical composition led researchers to conclude that relief from the region’s current dry spell is unlikely within the next 10,000 years.


Before we can make a plan to protect our oceans from climate change, we need to know what they were like before human impact. We haven’t been collecting ocean data for very long, but luckily one ocean marine organism has been keeping records for millennia: corals. Paleoceanographer Nathalie Goodkin shows us how looking at evidence of the past in coral records can help us to protect these organisms, and our oceans, for the future.

HSC Earth and Environmental Science

Coral Cores - windows into past climate

European Geoscience Union

Welcome to the blog of the Climate: Past, Present and Future (CL) Division of the European Geosciences Union (EGU). It cover all aspects of the ocean-climate-atmospheric systems, encompassing multiple, over-lapping and complementary disciplines, from the state of the current climate to modelled predictions of future climatic scenarios, and the reconstruction of past climatic change

Lechleitner (public domain)

The temperate region of Western Europe underwent significant climatic and environmental change during the last 15 deglaciation. Much of what is known about the terrestrial ecosystem response to deglacial warming stems from pollen preserved in sediment sequences, providing information on vegetation composition.

Nature Briefing

A change in coral extension rates and stable isotopes after El Niño-induced coral bleaching and regional stress events.

Australian Institute of Marine Science

AIMS’s extensive collection of coral cores has provided important insights into historical coral growth rates and climate impacts.

Powerhouse Museum

Climatic change happens over many years so it might be hard to notice dramatic changes over just one human lifetime. Scientists are using modern tools to read clues that were left long ago, and building a picture of what’s happening to the Earth’s climate.