Sarah Truebe has always been a caver. She grew up thinking the only things people should take from caves are photographs, but as she began her career as a paleoclimate scientist, she realized that scientists often take a lot more than photographs.
A stalagmite is a cylindrical mineral deposit, formed over hundreds or thousands of years on the floor of a cave, making them utterly non-renewable on human timescales. Stalagmites contain valuable paleoclimate data; however, most of the time getting this information means permanently removing the stalagmite from the cave.
“As the popularity of stalagmite paleoclimate science grows, development of sustainable sampling methods for these nonrenewable resources is necessary to balance the needs of science and cave conservation,” Truebe said.
Truebe is a PhD candidate in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Arizona and is also a 2014 recipient of the Climate Assessment for the Southwest (CLIMAS) Climate & Society Graduate Fellows Program. She used this opportunity to collect information on different stalagmite sampling methods, with the intention of developing best practice recommendations for extraction. (read more)