Plio- to Middle Pleistocene Sedimentology, Cave Genesis and Ailsbach Valley Geomorphology
Pp. 34-53 (20)
Cajus G. Diedrich
The Sophie’s Cave in southern Germany, in the middle high elevated (max
550 m a.s.l.) mountains of northern Bavaria, was formed by Pliocene subsurface
ground waters of the Upper Franconia Jurassic Plateau (about 440 a.s.l.). In the ponor
cave stage of Early Pliocene age, the horizontal system which started to refill partly
with about 3-4 m iron-and manganese-rich clays and dolomite ash sands (= coloured
series). Within the intermediate cave stage in the Early-Middle Pleistocene, the
Ailsbach River valley lowered from 440 to 420 m a.s.l. In the Middle Pleistocene,
fluvial sediment intruded only from the valley side into the Sophie’s Cave from above
the Clausstein Hall vertical shaft consisting of 8 m thick river terrace clay, sand and
gravel (= “yellow series”). A first Middle Pleistocene (?Holsteinian Interglacial) speleothem
generation formed on the top. Middle Pleistocene marten Martes sp. used some
parts at minimum in the Clauststein Hall as a den and left some tracks on muds being
the first known Middle Pleistocene footprints named herein Martichnus desseri nov.
ichnogen. and ichnosp. in Europe, which were casted and preserved by the speleothem
layer. These Middle Pleistocene cave sediment and speleothems eroded somehow
within the late Middle Pleistocene (?Saalian) in the valley sided cave branches by
Pliocene to Middle Pleistocene, sedimentology, Ailsbach Valley
geomorphology, Martichnus desseri nov. ichnog. and ichnosp., marten den.
PaleoLogic, Research Institute, Petra Bezruce 96, CZ-26751 Zdice, Czech Republic.