Active tectonics and recent dynamics of micro-displacements along major fault systems of the Eastern Alps registered in caves (SPELEOTECT)Popular science movie on the Speleotect project by Walter Weiss (16 min.)
Project leader: Mag. Dr. Lukas Plan
Duration: 11/2013 - 12/2017
- Department of Engineering Geology, Institute of Rock Structure and Mechanics,
Academy of Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic
- Department of Geological Sciences, Faculty of Science, Masaryk University, Brno,
- Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Institute for Geosciences, Speleothem
Research Group, Germany
- IGS Research Ltd., Tarragona (Spain)
- Department of Physics, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Communication, Brno University of Technology (Czech Republic)
Numerous field studies, seismic data, and GPS observations suggest ongoing activity along
major tectonic fault systems in the Eastern Alps. However, discrete geological proofs character-
izing the recent activity of individual fault systems are rather scarce. As tectonically damaged
speleothems and micro-displacement measurements in karst caves have proven to provide
unique quantitative information on neotectonic activity, this study aims on providing the first
comprehensive and detailed assessment of the Quaternary tectonic activity and recent
dynamics of micro-displacements along major fault systems of the Eastern Alps registered
In the first step, traces of active faults in caves of the Eastern Alps will be documented on the
basis of field observations, literature research and by checking hints from the speleological
community. Cave passages that have been dislocated by active faulting and which are coated
by flowstone that grew before as well as after the tectonic event will be dated by the U-series
disequilibrium method for achieving the age of respective neotectonic events.
In order to reconstruct the local stress conditions during the (re)activation of the faults, the
paleostress field will be, when possible, calculated from the fault-slip data of the recent
Micro-tectonic studies of faulted flowstones using cathodoluminescense images with electron
backscattered diffraction will be the basic methods for discriminating between fault displace-
ments caused by seismic slip or aseismic creep, which is an essential task for identifying
At selected test sites, recent dynamics of micro displacements along single faults that are
related to major fault systems will be monitored by means of the high-accuracy 3D crack-
gauge TM71. The potentially recorded micro-displacements will be correlated with regional
seismic activity in the study area of the Eastern Alps in Austria and with other potential
factors. The achieved results will be a solid base for updating the palaeoseismic record
of the Eastern Alps for regional earthquake hazard assessment.
We conduct our research with special attention to:
- Identifying, documenting and dating as much active faults in caves as possible
- Investigating the kinematics of active faults and reconstructing the (palaeo)stress field
- Discriminating between fault displacements caused by seismic slip or aseismic creep
- Monitoring the recent dynamics of micro-displacements along single faults
- Updating the palaeoseismic data for the Eastern Alps.
ResultsTime-lapse video of fault slips and earthquake magnitudes registered in the Eastern Alps from 1 July 2014 to 30 November 2015 (Seismic data: Courtesy of ZAMG, Faults: own morphostructural interpretation of 10m DTM and courtesy of GBA)
- Baroň I., Plan L., Grasemann B., Mitroviċ I., Blahůt J. & Stemberk J. (2014): Gravitational slope deformation triggered by a tectonic movement: First direct observations from the Emmerberg, Eisenstein and Zederhaus Caves (Eastern Alps, Austria). NGU Report 2014.030, Program and Abstract Book, 3rd Slope Tectonics conference, Trondheim, 8-12 September 2014, Geological Survey of Norway: pp. 13.
- Baroň I., Plan L., Grasemann B., Mitroviċ I. (2014): Activity of faults observed in caves of the Eastern Alps: results of the first year of monitoring. Abstracts, 15th Czech-Polish workshop on the Recent Geodynamics of the Sudeten and Adjacent Areas, Karlov pod Pradědem, November 5-8, 2014, pp. 10.
- Baroň I., Kernstocková M. Gasperl W. (2014): Reconstruction of a stress field of a mudslide. NGU Report 2014.030, Program and Abstract Book, 3rd Slope Tectonics conference, Trondheim, 8-12 September 2014, Geological Survey of Norway: pp. 14.
- Mitrovic I., Plan L., Baroň I., Grasemann B. (2014): Active displacements recorded along major fault systems in caves (Eastern Alps, Austria). EGU General Assembly 2014, held 27 April - 2 May, 2014 in Vienna, Austria, id.3941
- Mitrovic I., Grasemann B., Plan L., Baroň I. (2014): SEISMIC SLIP AND ASEISMIC CREEP ON MAJOR FAULT SYSTEMS OF THE EASTERN ALPS RECORDED IN SHEARED FLOWSTONES. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 46, No. 6, p.29.
- Baroň I., Plan L., Grasemann B., Mitrovič I., and Stemberk J. (2015): Activity of faults observed in caves of the Eastern Alps. Geophysical Research Abstracts, Vol. 17, EGU2015-14417, EGU General Assembly 2015.
- Baroň I., Bečkovský D., Gajdoík J., Opálka F., Plan L., and Winkler G. (2015): Tension zones of deep-seated rockslides revealed by thermal anomalies and airborne laser scan data. Geophysical Research Abstracts, Vol. 17, EGU2015-14446, EGU General Assembly 2015.
- Baroň I., Plan L., Grasemann B., Mitrovič I., and Stemberk J. (2015): Current fault activity observed in caves of the Eastern Alps. Advances in Active Tectonics and Speleotectonics 2015, 20-24 September 2015, Vienna, Austria, p. 6.
- Baroň I., Plan L., Grasemann B., Mitrovič I., and Winkler G. (2015): Pseudokarst Caves in Active Tectonic Zone of Mur-Mürz Fault (Eastern Alps). Proceedings of the 13th Int. Symposium on Pseudokarst, 16-19 September 2015, Kunčice p. Ondřejníkem, Czech Republic, p. 7.
- Baroň I., Decker K., Hintersberger E., Mitroviċ I., Plan L. Eds. (2015): Advances in Active Tectonics and Speleotectonics (Book of Abstracts). Natural History Museum Vienna & University of Vienna, Austria, 20. 24. September, 2015, 38 pp. Available online at: http://www.nhm-wien.ac.at/AATS_Workshop_2015
- Baroň I., Plan L., Grasemann B., Mitrovic I., Lenhardt W., Hausmann H., Stemberk J. (2016): Can deep seated gravitational slope deformations be activated by regional tectonic strain: First insights from displacement measurements in caves from the Eastern Alps. Geomorphology 259: 8189. DOI:10.1016/j.geomorph.2016.02.007
- Trcka T., Macku R., Koktavy P., Skarvada P., Baron I., Stemberk J. (2016): Field Measurement of Natural Electromagnetic Emissions near the Active Tectonic and Mass-movement Fractures in Caves. Materials Structure & Micromechanics of Fracture VIII, 258: 460-464. doi: 10.4028/www.scientific.net/SSP.258, ISBN: 978-3-03835-626-4, ISSN: 1013-9826.
- Baroň I., Plan L., Grasemann B. & Mitrovic I. (2016): Surficial structures of active faults detected in caves: examples from Salzach-Ennstal-Mariazell-Puchberg and Periadriatic Faults (Eastern Alps, Austria). Geomorfologický sborník 13. 11.-13.5.2016, Česká asociace geomorfologů, OSU Ostrava, Ostrava, ISBN 978-80-7464-825-0
- Baroň I., Koktavý P., Stemberk J., Macků R., Trčka T., karvada P., Lenhardt W., Meurers B., Rowberry M., Marti X., Plan L., Grasemann B., Mitrovic I. (2016): Underground electromagnetic activity in two regions with contrasting seismicity: a case study from the Eastern Alps and Bohemian Massif. - Geophysical Research Abstracts Vol. 18, EGU2016-14278, 2016. EGU General Assembly 2016.