Home of the Fossil Coralline Algae
ALPINE FORELAND BASIN

Geological Background

The western Austrian Molasse Zone (Upper Austria and Salzburg) (Hatched area in the Geological Map) is part of the Alpine-Carpathian foreland basin (Wagner, 1980; 1996). The Cenozoic basin of the study area has a geometry of an asymmetrical, south-dipping, 30-55 km wide trough. Its northern margin is formed by the outcropping basement of the Bohemian Massif while its southern margin corresponds to the Alpine thrust front).

In this basin the thickness of the Cenozoic series ranges from a few meters along its northern margin to over 3000 m along the Alpine deformation front. The crust of the European foreland today extends as a monoclinal ramp at least some 50 km southward from the Alpine deformation front under the Alpine-Carpathian nappe complexes (Wessely, 1987a). The pre-Cenozoic underground and the studied Late Eocene algal limestones are only known from deep wells of the Rohöl AG Vienna. Ca. 200 deep wells were drilled in Upper Austria and Salzburg.

A detailed study on the facies and paleontology of the algal limestones is in preparation by M. Rasser.


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