A new karren feature: hummocky karren
- Citation data:
International Journal of Speleology, ISSN: 0392-6672, Vol: 41, Issue: 1, Page: 75-81
- Publication Year:
- Repository URL:
- 10.5038/1827-806x.41.1.8; 10.5083/1827-806x.41.1.8
- Earth and Planetary Sciences; karst; landforms; limestone dissolution; Hochschwab; Austrian Alps; Earth Sciences; Physical Sciences and Mathematics
Karren are small-scale landforms on karst surfaces and many types have been described so far. Here we present an apparently new feature which was found on the Hochschwab karst massive in the Northern Calcareous Alps of Austria. So far only few outcrops each having less than 1 mwithin a very restricted area have been found. Morphometric analysis reveals that the karren consist of a randomly distributed, dispersed assemblage of small hummocks and depressions in between. The mean distance between neighbouring hummocks is 4 to 5 cm and the mean height is 0.85 cm. Longitudinal sections are gently sinuous. The occurrences are delimited by thin soil cover with grassy vegetation and the karren continue below that vegetation cover. Therefore, it is clear that the features have formed subcutaneously. Corroded fissures where water could infiltrate into the epikarst are absent. The bedrock lithology is Middle Triassic limestone of the Wetterstein Formation in lagoonal facies. Geological structures do not govern the feature. The surface is not a bedding plane and small joints and fractures do not govern the arrangement of the hummocks. Thin section analysis regarding rock texture and dolomite components show that there is no compositional difference between hummocks and depressions. Geochemical analyses show that the limestone is very pure with a very low content of Magnesia. Slightly higher Magnesia contents at the hummock surfaces are significant. The data obtained so far only indicate that some dissolution mechanism but not any rock property governs the irregular array. As there exist no descriptions of comparable features in literature, the name "hummocky karren" is suggested for that type of karren landform.