Origin of fine-grained clastic sediments in caves of the Hoher Göll massif (the Northern Calcareous Alps, Austria)

Ditta Kicińska


The Hoher Göll Massif is situated 20 km south of Salzburg and belongs to the Northern Calcareous Alps (Austria). It is a ridge ca. 11 km long and 3 km wide with the highest summit Hoher Göll (2522 m a.s.l.), encircled by deeply incised valleys with bottoms ca. 2,000 m below it. Cave clastic deposits were studied in the Hochschartehöhlensystem, Dämchenhöhle and Hintere caves. The caves belong to the Giant Cave Level, with the exception of part of the Hochschartehöhlensystem, that is Der Sprechender Steine Cave, the highest parts of which belong to the Ruin Cave Level. The sources of the cave sediments have been identified from the composition of the heavy fractions. Preliminary studies of the Hoher Göll caves reveal that the cave fills were derived from the Oligocene to earliest Miocene Augenstein Formation, the deposits of the Palaeo-Inn River and the siliciclastic basal strata of the Northern Calcareous Alps. The clastic material deposited as the Augenstein Formation was transported from southern parts of the Eastern Alps and by the Palaeo-Inn river from their western part. According to heavy minerals, the sources of the clastic material were on the Palaeozoic terrains, the post-Palaeozoic sequence, and the Middle Austroalpine Unit. Later, during or after the mountain uplift, weathered materials from the Augenstein and Palaeo-Inn deposits were eroded and transported from the surface into caves by allogenic streams. Some of the sediments were likely to have been transported later to the Giant Cave Level from the southern part of the Northern Calcareous Alps.

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