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Durham University

Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)

Staff and Governance

Core Staff

The day-to-day running of IMEMS is the responsibility of the Core Executive Committee, comprising the Director and Associate Directors and the Administrator. 

Publication details for Prof. James Baldini

Wassenburg, J.A., Scholz, D., Jochumb, K.P., Cheng, H., Ostere, J., Immenhauser, A., Richter, D.K., Häger, T., Jamieson, R.A., Baldini, J.U.L., Hoffmann, D. & Breitenbach, S.F.M. (2016). Determination of aragonite trace element distribution coefficients from speleothem calcite–aragonite transitions. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 190: 347-367.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

The processes that govern the incorporation of (trace) elements into speleothems can often be linked to environmental changes. Although element incorporation into speleothem calcite is now reasonably well understood, current knowledge regarding trace element variability in speleothem aragonite is very limited. Of particular interest is whether trace element distribution coefficients are above or below one in order to assess the extent to which prior aragonite precipitation has affected speleothem aragonite trace element records. This study uses nine calcite-to-aragonite transitions in seven speleothems from diverse environmental settings to derive the first quantitative estimates of the distribution coefficients for several elements in speleothem aragonite: DMg(Ar) = 9.7E−5 ± 9.01E−5, DBa(Ar) = 0.91 ± 0.88, DSr(Ar) = 1.38 ± 0.53, and DU(Ar) = 6.26 ± 4.54 (1σ SD). For one speleothem from western Germany, the distribution coefficients are generally higher, which is potentially related to the very low growth rates (<11 μm/year) of this sample. In particular, DSr(Ar) appears to show a negative correlation with growth rate when growth rate is below 20 μm/year. In summary, our results demonstrate that speleothem aragonite DMg(Ar) is below one, DU(Ar) is considerably above one, and DSr(Ar) is above one or close to unity. For DBa(Ar), reaching a similar conclusion is difficult due to the relatively high uncertainty. Enhanced prior aragonite precipitation will thus result in lower U and higher Mg concentrations in speleothem aragonite, although in many cases Mg in speleothem aragonite is most likely dominated by other processes. This result suggests that U concentrations in aragonitic stalagmites could serve as a very effective proxy for palaeo-rainfall.

Full Executive Committee

Our Full Executive Committee is made up of the Core Executive Committee, listed above, plus a number of executive members including:


International Advisory Board

We are extremely fortunate to have be able to call on the help and guidance of colleagues from around the world who help to shape and guide our direction, strategy and international reach. Our current Advisory Board members are: