28 Apr 2012
The Karwendel Mountains form a prominent part of the Northern Calcareous Alps that stretches from northern Tyrol into the southernmost part of Bavaria. Carbonate rocks constitute the most prominent mountain-building formations, including the Triassic Wetterstein Limestone.
The densiity of caves in the Karwendel Mountains is low compared to other areas of the Northern Calcareous Alps, but surface karst features are not uncommon. Within their diploma theses Klaus Pietersteiner and Martin Kendler examined for the first time the karst geomorphology of two target areas on the main crest of the Karwendel Mountains (Karwendelhauptkamm) using both field mapping, aerial photos and laserscan data. Klaus worked on the western end, on the Pleissen Peak near Scharnitz, whereas Martin studied the cirques surrounding the Rossloch in the centre of the mountain range. Both field areas show a suite of surface karst features, including karren and dolinas, as well as many shafts, the majority of which, however, ends within 5-20 m due to breakdown.
Klaus surveyed a series of caves in the Pleissen region and also found speleothems which are currently being studied. Both field areas also contain a few shafts with perennial ice.