The apatite assemblage from Maglovec hill (Slanské vrchy Mountains near the city of Prešov) from fissures of hydrothermally altered neovolcanic rocks (andesites and related lithologies) was studied. The assemblage consists of two different morphological apatite types (apatite in cores of prismatic crystals and fibrous apatite mantling these cores). The assemblage was investigated by a multi-analytical approach to reveal its unique chemical composition and structure. Both types of apatite display zoning visible in back-scattered electron (BSE) images. Core apatite is relatively homogenous with porous rims appearing darker in the BSE images at the contact with fibrous apatite, and occasionally with darker regions along fractures. These parts are depleted in trace elements, mostly in LREE. Fibrous apatites display concentric and/or patchy zoning. Dark regions in fibrous apatite occasionally display a porous structure. In part of fibrous crystals, substitution of (CO3)2− for phosphorus is confirmed by Raman spectroscopy by the presence of a band at ~ 1071 cm−1. This method also confirmed the presence of OH in different populations in the structure of all apatite types. The three most important observed peaks are caused by vibrations of hydroxyls influenced by different adjacent anions: hydroxyl (band at ~ 3575 cm−1); fluorine (band at ~ 3535–3540 cm−1); chlorine (band at ~ 3494 cm−1). In REE-depleted parts of both apatite types, fine inclusions of monazite and rarely Th-rich silicate are observed. The acquired data suggest a hydrothermal origin of this assemblage and indicate a formation sequence of distinct apatite types. Moreover, minerals from the epidote group were identified, which have not been described from this locality before as well as vanadium-rich magnetites that form exsolution lamellae in ilmenite grains.
Recent research shows that the last interglacial climate was more unstable in comparison to Holocene. Lack of suitable dating techniques and precisely defined absolute age benchmarks is one from main problems for present LIG studies. Therefore many of LIG chronologies base on indirect dating techniques like record alignment strategies. In this context, speleothems are valuable paleoclimate archives because of their capability to be dated by U-series method. In Europe LIG speleothem records are known mostly from western and central part of the continent. In this paper we present a 1,650 mm long stalagmite (ocz-6) from Bulgarian Cave Orlova Chuka. The ocz-6 stalagmite records the period of time ca. 129–112 ka. Ocz-6 stalagmite was analyzed in terms of stable isotopic composition of calcite and trace elements content. All analyzed geochemical proxies point to dynamic changes in the environment during the Last Interglacial time. At the time of interglacial development (129–126.5 ka), ocz-6 records shows systematic change in proportion of moisture delivered from Atlantic source and other sources. The beginning of last interglacial optimum is connected with a rapid change to more humid and warm conditions. During interglacial demise local climate become more dependent from regional settings.
The quality of paleoenvironmental reconstruction based on speleothem records depends on the accuracy of the used proxies and the chronology of the studied record. As far as the dating method is concerned, in most cases, the best solution is the use of the U-series method to obtain a precise chronology. However, for older periods (i.e., over 0.5 Ma), dating has become a serious challenge. Theoretically, older materials could be dated with the U-Pb dating method. However, that method requires a relatively high uranium content (minimum of several ppm), whereas typical speleothems from Poland (and all of Central Europe) have uranium concentrations below 0.1 ppm. Because the materials in Polish caves are problematic, we applied oxygen isotope stratigraphy (OIS) as a tool for speleothem dating. By using OIS as an alternative tool to create a chronology of our flowstone, it was found that the studied flowstone crystallized from 975 to 470 ka with three major discontinuities, so obtained isotopic record can be correlated with oxygen isotopic stages from MIS 24 to MIS 12. The observed isotopic variability was also consistent and confirmed with the petrographic observations of the flowstone.