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International Journal of Speleology, 2012, Vol 41, Issue 1, p. 51-58
Measurement of luminescent banding in speleothems: some techniques and limitations

Speleothems, especially flowstone and cylindrical stalagmites, exhibit phosphorescence which is often banded on the scale of a few tens of micrometers. The luminescence bands are paleoclimatic records with a very high temporal resolution. A technique has been developed using a laser source and a high resolution Raman spectrometer with microscope and computer-controlled translation stage for both luminescence profiles and luminescence spectroscopy. Luminescence intensity could be measured as a function of traverse distance with a spatial resolution of 2 – 3 μm. Potential sources of error include loss of intensity due to radiation damage by the laser beam, irregularities, cracks, and inclusions on the polished speleothem surface, and defocusing of the beam along the traverse path.