Roofless Caves, a polygenetic status of cave development with special references to cave regions in the Eastern Calcareous Alps in Salzburg and Central Alps , Austria
Karl Mais - (28/2,1999)
The phenomenon of roofless caves was reported early by Boyd Dawkins (1874). Franz Kraus found that roof collapses are the first steps in the development from a normal subterranean cave to dolines and to a gorge and to normal valley. As an example he showed Rakov Škocjan and specially "Lončarevec Cave" near Postojna. Karst in alpine regions is often dominated by glacier erosion. The ice flow of Pleistocene glaciers carved the plateau surfaces. Thus cave systems opened. In some areas there are a lot of short caves as parts of a former cave system. They characterise the "cave-ruin-niveau" (Hšhlenruinen-Niveau) on plateaus such as Steinernes Meer, Hagengebirge, Tennengebirge, in an altitude of 2000-2300m. Special reference is given to the Salzburg Calcareous Alps, including Hennenkopf and the Rotwandl region in the massif of Steinernes Meer, the region of Sandkar in the Tennengebirge and of Hochtor in the Central Alps (Hohe Tauern).