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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

Baldini, J.U.L., McDermott, F, Baker, A., Baldini, L.M., Mattey, D.P. & Railsback, L.B. (2005). Biomass effects on stalagmite growth and isotope ratios: A 20th century analogue from Wiltshire, England. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 240(2): 486-494.

Author(s) from Durham


Increases in calcite deposition rates combined with decreases in δ13C and δ18O in three modern stalagmites from Brown's Folly Mine, Wiltshire, England, are correlative with a well-documented re-vegetation above the mine. Increased soil PCO2 resulted in greater amounts of dissolved CaCO3 in the drip waters, which consequently increased annual calcite deposition rates. The absence of deposition prior to 1916 (28 years after the mine was closed) indicates that vegetation had not yet sufficiently developed to allow higher PCO2 values to form in the soil. Lower δ13C values through time may reflect the increased input of isotopically light biogenic carbon to the total dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC). δ18O decreased synchronously with δ13C, reflecting the increased importance of isotopically light winter recharge due to greater biomass-induced summer evapotranspiration. This is the first empirical demonstration that vegetation density can control stalagmite growth rates, δ13C, and δ18O, contributing critical insights into the interpretation of these climate proxies in ancient stalagmites.



L.B. Railsback, A.A. Dabous, J.K. Osmond, C.J. Fleisher, Petrographic
and geochemical screening of speleothems for Useries
dating: an example from recrystallized speleothems from
Sannur Cavern, Egypt, J. Cave Karst Stud. 64 (2002) 108–116.


V.J. Polyak, Y. Asmerom, Late Holocene climate and cultural
changes in the southwestern United States, Science 294 (2001)
148– 151.


A. Baker, C.J. Proctor, W.L. Barnes, Variations in stalagmite
luminescence laminae structure at Poole’s Cavern, England,
A.D. 1910–1996: calibration of a palaeoprecipitation proxy,
Holocene 9 (6) (1999).


Y.Y. Shopov, D.C. Ford, H.P. Schwarcz, Luminescent microbanding
in speleothems — high-resolution chronology and
paleoclimate, Geology 22 (5) (1994) 407– 410.


J.U.L. Baldini, F. McDermott, I.J. Fairchild, Structure of the
8200-year cold event revealed by a speleothem trace element
record, Science 296 (2002) 2203– 2206.


I.J. Fairchild, A. Baker, A. Borsato, S. Frisia, R. Hinton, F.
McDermott, A. Tooth, Annual to sub-annual resolution of multiple
trace-element trends in speleothems, J. Geol. Soc. (Lond.)
158 (2001) 831– 841.


D. Genty, G. Deflandre, Drip flow variations under a stalactite of
the Pe`re Noe¨l cave (Belgium). Evidence of seasonal variations
and air pressure constraints, J. Hydrol. 211 (1998) 208– 232.


D. Genty, A. Baker, B. Vokal, Intra- and inter-annual growth rate
of modern stalagmites, Chem. Geol. 176 (2001) 191– 212.


J.A. Dorale, L.A. Gonzalez, M.K. Reagan, D.A. Pickett, M.T.
Murrell, R.G. Baker, A high-resolution record of Holocene
climate change in speleothem calcite from Cold Water Cave,
Northeast Iowa, Science 258 (1992) 1626–1630.


R.F. Denniston, L.A. Gonzalez, Y. Asmerom, R.G. Baker, M.K.
Reagan, E.A. Bettis, Evidence for increased cool season moisture
during the middle Holocene, Geology 27 (9) (1999) 815– 818.


R.F. Denniston, L.A. Gonzalez, Y. Asmerom, V. Polyak, M.K.
Reagan, M.R. Saltzman, A high-resolution speleothem record of
climatic variability at the Allerod-Younger Dryas transition in
Missouri, central United States, Palaeogeogr. Palaeoclimatol.
Palaeoecol. 176 (2001) 147– 155.


D. Genty, D. Blamart, R. Ouahdi, M. Gilmour, A. Baker, J.
Jouzel, S. Van-Exter, Precise dating of Dansgaard-Oeschger
climate oscillations in western Europe from stalagmite data,
Nature 421 (2003) 833– 837.


A. Baker, P.L. Smart, D.C. Ford, Northwest European palaeoclimate
as indicated by growth frequency variations of secondary
calcite deposits, Palaeogeogr. Palaeoclimatol. Palaeoecol.
100 (3) (1993) 291– 301.


C. Spotl, A. Mangini, F. Norbert, R. Eichstadter, S.J. Burns,
Start of the last interglacial period at 135 ka: evidence from a
high Alpine speleothem, Geology 30 (9) (2002) 815– 818.


S. Niggemann, A. Mangini, D.K. Richter, G. Wurth, A paleoclimatic
record of the last 17,600 years in stalagmites from the B7
cave, Sauerland, Germany, Quat. Sci. Rev. 22 (2003) 557– 569.


F. McDermott, Palaeo-climate reconstruction from stable isotope
variations in speleothems: a review, Quat. Sci. Rev. 23 (2004)


E. Price, The Bath Freestone Workings, The Resurgence Press,
Bath, 1984.


A. Baker, D. Genty, W. Dreybrodt, J. Grapes, N.J. Mockler,
Testing theoretically predicted stalagmite growth rates with
recent annually laminated samples: implications for past stalagmite
deposition, Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 62 (1998)


A. Baker, N.J. Mockler, W.L. Barnes, Flourescence intensity
of speleothem forming groundwaters: implications for
palaeoclimate reconstruction, Water Resour. Res. 35 (1999)


G.A. Brook, M.A. Rafter, L.B. Railsback, S. Sheen, J. Lundberg,
A high-resolution proxy record of rainfall and ENSO since
A.D. 1550 from layering in stalagmites from Anjohibe Cave,
Madagascar, Holocene 9 (6) (1999) 695–705.


D. Genty, Y. Quinif, Annually laminated sequences in the internal
structure of some Belgian speleothems, J. Sediment. Res. 66
(1996) 275–288.


L.B. Railsback, G.A. Brook, J. Chen, R. Kalin, C. Fleisher,
Environmental controls on the petrology of a late Holocene
speleothem from Botswana with annual layers of aragonite
and calcite, J. Sediment. Res. A64 (1994) 147–155.


A. Baker, W.L. Barnes, P.L. Smart, Variations in the discharge
and organic matter content of stalagmite drip waters in Lower
Cave, Bristol, Hydrol. Process. 11 (1997) 1541–1555.


J.U.L. Baldini, Geochemical and hydrological characterisation
of stalagmites as palaeoclimate proxies, with an emphasis on
trace element variablity, PhD, University College Dublin, 2004.


K. Kashiwaya, T.C. Atkinson, P.L. Smart, Periodic variations in
late Pleistocene speleothem abundance in Britain, Quat. Res. 35
(1991) 190–196.


M. Gascoyne, H.P. Schwarcz, D.C. Ford, Uranium-series ages
of speleothem from northwest England: correlation with quaternary
climate, Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B301 (1983)


J.R. O’Neil, R.M. Clayton, T. Mayeda, Oxygen isotope fractionation
in divalent metal carbonates, J. Chem. Phys. 30 (1969)
5547– 5558.


S. Epstein, R. Buchsbaum, H.A. Lowenstam, H.C. Urey, Carbonate-
water isotopic temperature scale, Bull. Geol. Soc. Am.
62 (1951) 417–427.


D.E. Parker, T.P. Legg, C.K. Folland, A new daily Central
England temperature series, 1772–1991, Int. J. Climatol. 12
(1992) 317–342.


G. Manley, Central England temperatures: monthly means 1659
to 1973, Q. J. R. Meteorol. Soc. 100 (1974) 389–405.


H. Linge, S.-E. Lauritzen, J. Lundberg, I.M. Berstad, Stable
isotope stratigraphy of Holocene speleothems: examples from
a cave system in Rana, northern Norway, Palaeogeogr. Palaeoclimatol.
Palaeoecol. 167 (2001) 209– 224.


C.H. Hendy, A.T. Wilson, Paleoclimatic data from speleothems,
Nature 216 (1968) 48– 51.


S. Lauritzen, B.P. Onac, Isotopic stratigraphy of a last interglacial
stalagmite from northwestern Romania: correlation with the
deep sea record and northern-latitude speleothem, J. Caves Karst
Stud. 61 (1) (1999) 22– 30.


M. Gascoyne, Palaeoclimate determination from cave calcite
deposits, Quat. Sci. Rev. 11 (1992) 609– 632.


P.J. Mickler, J.L. Banner, L. Stern, Y. Asmerom, R.L. Edwards,
E. Ito, Stable isotopic variations in modern tropical speleothems:
evaluating equilibrium vs. kinetic effects, Geochim. Cosmochim.
Acta 68 (21) (2004) 4381–4393.


J. Gregory, P. Jones, T. Wigley, Precipitation in Britain: an
analysis of area average data updated to 1989, Int. J. Climatol.
11 (1991) 331– 345.


P.D. Jones, D. Conway, Precipitation in the British Isles: an
analysis of area-average data updated to 1995, Int. J. Climatol.
17 (1997) 427– 438.

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: