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You are here: Home Archive 1957 Neue Ergebnisse der Karsthydrologie: Untersuchungen im Dachsteingebiet mit Hilfe der Sporentriftmethode

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Neue Ergebnisse der Karsthydrologie: Untersuchungen im Dachsteingebiet mit Hilfe der Sporentriftmethode

DOI: 10.3112/erdkunde.1957.02.03
Year: 1957
Vol: 11
Issue: 2
Pages: 107-117

Since 1954 the author has been carrying out
karst hydrographic investigations in the south-eastern
Dachstein area (Upper Austrian — Styrian Limestone
The Dachstein massif is a typical representative of cast
Alpine block shaped mountains; thick layers of Triassic
limestones and dolomites which lie on top of marly
Werfen strata and Paleozoic phyllites rise steeply from the
surrounding valleys. The massif possesses extensive
plateau surfaces with pronounced karst features and lacks
surface drainage.
In order to clarify the catchment areas of the foreland
streams, in the summer of 1956, spores of Lycododium
clavatum were put into five sink holes on the plateau of
the eastern Dachstein area and springs at the foot of the
massif were kept under observation with plancton nets.
This spore drift method, which was introduced in 1953
by A. Mayr for the investigation of a subterranean watercourse
in the western Dachstein area, proved its worth
also in this case. This method has the advantage that in
contrast to the usual method of putting chloride or dyes
into karst streams, the amount of material and the number
of people required can be very small, a fact which may be
of decisive importance for investigations in out of the
way and not easily accessible places. This spore drift
method was further developed in the eastern Dachstein
area by using dyed spores.
The results of the five experiments which were carried
out in the eastern Dachstein area lead to the conclusion
that there is an interconnected and water filled network
of cavities, a karst water system, whose culmination lies
in the central part of the Massif.
Practical results of these investigations were that they
allowed conclusions to be reached for the calculation of
the catchment areas of the foreland streams in limestone
mountains and also as regards the problems of preventing
the pollution of springs. In addition conclusions could
be drawn about the subterranean drainage of block
shaped Alpine limestone mountains. In this respect the
concept of A. Grand (1903, 1910) that there is a uniform
karst water table in limestone mountains opposed the
theory of O. Lehmann (1932) according to which the subterranean
drainage of a limestone massif takes place by
means of a number of independent karst vessels. The
results of the spore drift experiments in the eastern Dachstein
area brought these two contrasting theories into
closer proximity; although it was possible to prove the
existence of an on the whole interconnected karst water
system, the possibility of a complete transfer of the concept
of the characteristics of ground water in loose permeable
rock to the conditions in limestone mountains
does, however, not exist. The validity of the results gained
by the spore drift experiments in the eastern Dachstein
area must for the time being, of course, be limited to karst
massifs in the eastern Alps, until the results of further
investigations elsewhere become available.

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