The first high-resolution stalagmite record from Taiwan: Climate and environmental changes during the past 1300 years

Hong Chun Li*, Min Zhao, Chia Hsin Tsai, Horng Sheng Mii, Queenie Chang, Kuo Yen Wei

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents the first high-resolution Holocene stalagmite record of Taiwan from Jianfei Cave (22°50.873 N; 120°21.255 E) in Dagangshan Mountain, South Taiwan. The 13.6-cm long stalagmite (DGS-1) has been dated by AMS 14C dating, spanning from AD 700 to AD 1933. The δ18O, δ13C and XRF scanned elemental profiles reveal interannual variations in climate and environmental conditions, with light δ18O and δ13C excursions reflecting wet climate and better vegetation coverage under stronger East Asia Summer Monsoon (EASM). Dark layers in DGS-1 containing high Fe, Mn and Sr contents were formed during dry episodes. Five periods with different climate regimes and vegetation conditions can be identified in the DGS-1 record: Period I (AD 700-1200) and Period V (AD 1810-1933) had warm and wet climates with good vegetation coverage. A drying trend probably corresponding to the switch from El Niño-like to La Niña-like oceanic condition occurred during Period II (AD 1200-1400). Cold but relatively wet climates with good vegetation coverage were prevailed during Period III (AD 1400-1610), whereas cold and dry climates with poor vegetation coverage were dominated during Period IV (AD 1610-1810). Based on the rainfall record of Tainan since AD 1897 and the stalagmite record, we found that stronger total solar irradiation (TSI) resulting in strong EASM produces heavy rainfall in South Taiwan on interannual-to-decadal scales; and vice versa. The 117-yr instrumental rainfall record of Tainan showed that rainfall in Tainan decreased during April-to-June and strongly increased during July-to-September in many La Niña years (positive SOI and negative Niño 3.4). This may be because weaker Meiyu rainfall but stronger tropical Equatorial Pacific cyclones (or typhoon) under La Niña condition. Thus, it is better to use seasonal rainfall for detecting relationship between Tainan rainfall and ENSO. On decadal-to-centennial scales, strong El Niño-like state and warm Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) phase are in favor of wet conditions in South Taiwan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)574-587
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Asian Earth Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Dec 15


  • AMS C dating
  • Elemental content
  • Late Holocene
  • Paleoclimate
  • South Taiwan
  • Stalagmite
  • δO and δC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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