A flight of marine terraces along the Cuban coast records Quaternary sea-level highstands and a general slowly uplifting trend during the Pleistocene. U/Th dating of these limestone terraces is difficult because fossil reef corals have been affected by open system conditions. Terrace ages are thus often based on geological and geomorphological observations. In contrast, the minimum age of the terraces can be constrained by dating speleothems from coastal mixing (flank margin) caves formed during past sea-level highstands and carving the marine limestones. Speleothems in Santa Catalina Cave have ages >360ka and show various cycles of subaerial-subaqueous corrosion and speleothem growth. This suggests that the cave was carved during the MIS 11 sea-level highstand or earlier. Some stalagmites grew during MIS 11 through MIS 8 and were submerged twice, once at the end of MIS 11 and then during MIS 9. Phreatic overgrowths (POS) covering the speleothems suggest anchialine conditions in the cave during MIS 5e. Their altitude at 16m above present sea level indicates a late Pleistocene uplift rate of <0.1mm/ka, but modelling also shows uplift to have been insignificant over a long timespan during the middle Pleistocene since the cave was carved. Our study shows that some flank margin caves in the region of Matanzas are older than commonly believed (i.e. MIS 11 rather than MIS 5). These caves not only can be preserved but are good markers of interglacial sea-level highstands, more reliable than marine abrasion surfaces.
De Waele, J.o., D'Angeli, I.M., Bontognali, T., Tuccimei, P., Scholz, D., Jochum, K.P., et al. (2018). Speleothems in a north Cuban cave register sea-level changes and Pleistocene uplift rates. EARTH SURFACE PROCESSES AND LANDFORMS [10.1002/esp.4393].