ASGP (2016), vol. 86: 341–350


Michał GRADZIŃSKI (1), Helena HERCMAN (2), Andrea PERESVIET-SOLTAN (3, 4), Ján ZELINKA (5) & Magdalena JELONEK (1)

1) Institute of Geological Sciences, Jagiellonian University, Oleandry 2a, 30-063 Kraków, Poland; e-mail: michal.gradzinski at (MG), magdalena.lata at (MJ)
2) Institute of Geological Sciences, Polish Academy of Sciences, Twarda 51-55, 00-818 Warsaw, Poland; e-mail:hhercma at
3) Institute of Systematics and Evolution of Animals, Polish Academy of Sciences, Sławkowska 17, 31-016 Kraków, Poland; e-mail: pereswiet_soltan at
4) Club Speleologico Proteo Vicenza, Viale Riviera Berica, 631 - 36100 Vicenza, Italy
5) Slovak Caves Administration, Hodžova 11, 031 01 Liptovský Mikuláš, Slovakia; e-mail: jan.zelinka at

Gradziński, M., Hercman, H., Peresviet-Soltan, A., Zelinka, J. & Jelonek, M., 2016. Radiocarbon dating of fossil bats from Dobšina Ice Cave (Slovakia) and potential palaeoclimatic implications. Annales Societatis Geologorum Poloniae, 86: 341–350.

Abstract: Although Dobšina Ice Cave (DIC, Carpathians, Slovakia) is located outside the high-mountain area, it hosts one of the most extensive blocks of perennial subterranean ice, the volume of which is estimated at more than 110,000 m3. Frozen bat remains were found in the lowermost part of the perennial ice block. They belong to Myotis blythii (Tomes) and the M. mystacinus morpho-group. The radiocarbon dating of bat soft tissues yielded ages of 1266–1074 cal. yr BP and 1173–969 cal. yr BP. The undetermined bat, found in the same part of the ice section in 2002, was previously dated at 1178–988 cal. yr BP (Clausen et al., 2007). The dates testify that the ice crystallized at the turn of the Dark Ages Cold Period and the Medieval Warm Period. The calculated accumulation rate of cave ice varies between 0.7 cm/year and 1.4 cm/year at that time, and is similar to the present ice accumulation rate in DIC. Constant crystallization of ice during the Medieval Warm Period is hypothesized to reflect dry summer seasons since the supply of relatively warm water in the summer is one of the key factors causing the erosion of cave ice. The uppermost sample was covered with 20.6 m of ice. Between ca 1065 cal. yr BP and the present day, the ice grew faster than between ca 1210 yr BP and ca 1065 yr BP by a factor of 1.3–1.8. This may have resulted from conditions favourable for ice accumulation during the Little Ice Age.

Manuscript received 2 September 2016, accepted 4 November 2016