Speläogenese der Hermannshöhle (Kirchberg/Wechsel, NÖ)

Andrea Schober
2014 unpublished
The approximately 5 km-long Hermannshöhlen cave system (Kirchberg/Wechsel, Lower Austria) is the biggest in the Lower Austro Alpine Unit. It consists of four genetically related caves of which Hermannshöhle is the longest with a total of 4.5 km of corridors. The system is developed within a ground area of only 200 m x 200 m and an elevation difference of no more than 82 m. Its corridors are arranged as a three-dimensional maze. The reason for this complex arrangement and the driving mechanisms
more » ... f the evolution of the Hermannshöhle could by the day not be clarified. The aim of this study was to enlighten the genesis of this cave using a combination of various methods. Detailed surface mapping was conducted with special attention paid to the border of karstic and non-karstic rocks. Furthermore a detailed morphologic mapping within the cave system was conducted focussing on paragenetic features. Structural elements were measured and documented. The special data of the cave system was digitalised and a 3D-model was created. 27 speleothem samples were dated using the U/Th-method. Cave sediments were investigated regarding grains size distribution and Paleomagentic samples were taken on one spot. The results show that the palaeo environment and the hydrologic setting of the Hermannshöhle were drastically different from today. Fed by undersaturated water from nearby non-karstic gneisses and schists well-developed contact karst features were formed. All cave features could be explained by epigean phreatic processes. In contrast to former authors, phases of vadose speleogenesis could not be confirmed. No proof for a hypogean speleogenesis was found. Following pulses of clastic sediment input a distinct system of paragenetic canyons developed. Paragenesis is the primary morphologic feature, dominating almost the entire cave in various forms, including ceiling meanders, ceiling channels, cupolas and pendants. Solution ramps are abundant and occasionally show cross-cutting relationships with scallops. The latter indicate a w [...]
doi:10.25365/thesis.31321 fatcat:qk5xdu5n5jap5ocpzwbvktrdam