Constraints on alpine speleogenesis from cave morphology - A case study from the eastern Totes Gebirge (Northern Calcareous Alps, Austria)
The Totes Gebirge is the largest karst massif in the Northern Calcareous Alps (NCA). This paper focuses on the eastern Part, where two major multiphase alpine cave systems (Burgunderschacht Cave System and DOF-Sonnenleiter Cave System) are described with respect to morphology, hydrology, and sediments. The caves consist of Upper Miocene galleries of (epi)phreatic genesis and younger vadose canyon-shaft systems. Morphometrical analyses were used to determine the relevance of (1) cave levels (horizontal accumulations of galleries), (2) slightly inclined palaeo water tables of speleogenetic phases, (3) initial fissures. and (4) inception horizons on the development of the cave systems. (Epi)phreatic cave conduits developed preferentially along vertical faults and along only a restricted number of bedding planes, which conforms to the inception horizon hypothesis. For at least one of the systems, a development under epiphreatic conditions is certain and a hydrological behaviour in the "filling overflow manner" is likely.