Famous Planet Earth Caves

Volume: 2

Geology and Late Pleistocene Glacial Landscape

Author(s): Cajus G. Diedrich

Pp: 11-24 (14)

DOI: 10.2174/9781681085302117020005

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


The Hermann’s Cave was formed into Late Devonian reef limestones of the geological Elbingeröder Complex starting during the Early Pleistocene in the central part of the Harz Mountain Range. Older river terrace sand/gravel deposits within the Hermann’s Cave were deposited in the 16-20 meters higher elevated Saalian formed middle ponor level. Those are overlain by autochthonous younger early-middle Late Pleistocene (MIS5d-3) cave clays which contain the cave bear and other fauna such as archaeological remains. The sediments are dated indirectly by the “cave bear clock” (cave bear species, tooth and skull morphotypes) and by the absolute dated covering speleothem layer that cemented the uppermost cave bear skeletons and bones. This youngest speleothem phase produced candle stalagmites all over the cave system and levels before the LGM (MIS 2), and especially at the final Late Pleistocene (Bölling/Alleröd/Dryas; MIS 2/1 boundary) cold humid phases. In the warmer humid interstadial times of the early Late Pleistocene (MIS 5a and c), the today larger speleothems started to built up, which means that those are not older as 104.000 years.

Keywords: Devonian limestone, Karst, Hermann’s Cave, Ponor stages, Three main levels, Middle to Late Pleistocene, Sediment types, Speleothem ages and forms.

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