Salt‑rich versus salt‑poor structural scenarios in the central Northern Calcareous Alps: implications for the Hallstatt facies and early Alpine tectonic evolution (Eastern Alps, Austria)

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Oscar Fernandez , Hugo Ortner, Diethard Sanders, Bernhard Grasemann, Thomas Leitner


One of the most remarkable features of the central Northern Calcareous Alps (Eastern Alps, Austria) is the widespread presence of Upper Triassic deep-water carbonates (the Hallstatt facies) and Permo-Triassic evaporites resting on deep-water Middle Jurassic strata and their underlying Upper Triassic shallow-water carbonate platform successions. The Hallstatt facies and accompanying evaporites have been classically interpreted to originate either from a location south of the time-equivalent carbonate platforms, or to have been deposited in deeper water seaways within the broad platform domain. To date, this dispute has been addressed mostly through the analysis of Triassic and Jurassic facies distribution in map view, which, however, is subject to some degree of ambiguity and subjectivity. In this contribution we present, for the first time, sequentially restored regional cross-sections through the central Northern Calcareous Alps to understand the implications of the contrasting paleogeographic models. We present (a) an interpretation based on a highly allochthonous origin of the Triassic deep-water units and (b) an interpretation based on their relative autochthony in which we incorporate the potential influence of salt tectonics in the central NCA. The restored cross-sections provide a framework within which the alternative scenarios and their paleogeographic implications can be better understood. Through this analysis we propose that salt tectonics in the central NCA can provide a valid explanation for apparent inconsistencies in the relative autochthony scenario and thus constitutes a reasonable alternative to the currently accepted allochthony scenario.



Other Earth Sciences, Sedimentology, Tectonics and Structure


Eastern Alps, cross-sections, thrust tectonics, salt tectonics, gravitational gliding, structural uncertainty, cross-sections, thrust tectonics, salt tectonics, gravitational gliding, structural uncertainty


Published: 2023-05-25 04:39

Last Updated: 2024-01-29 08:03

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