Pleistocene speleothem fracturing in the Western Carpathian orogenic foreland: A case study from transtensional setting at the eastern margin of the Bohemian Massif

Ondrej Babek, Miloš Briestenský, Gabriela Přecechtělová, Petra Štěpančíková, John C. Hellstrom, Russell Neil Drysdale


We studied speleothem-fracturing styles and their tectonic context in three cave systems situated in the eastern Bohemian Massif, close to the Western Carpathians orogenic front: the Za hájovnou, Javoříčko, and Mladeč caves. The morphology of the speleothems in particularly thin stalactites, and supporting evidence from the cave interior, indicates a tectonic origin of the breakage. U/Th series dating of the stalactites, supported by Optically Stimulated Luminiscence (OSL) and 14C dating of soft sediments indicate that most of the fracturing occurred in the Upper Pleistocene, with the last fracturing events corresponding to MIS6 and MIS5 stages. OSL dating of faulted soft-sediment infill may even indicate that latest Pleistocene to Early Holocene tectonic events occurred in the Mladeč Cave. The speleothem fracturing is discussed in the regional context of the seismically active Nysa-Morava Zone situated at the junction between the Bohemian Massif (Elbe Fault Zone) and the Western Carpathians. This study provides the first evidence of palaeoseismicity from the subsurface and the oldest dated palaeoseismicity from the contact between the Western Carpathians and the Bohemian Massif.



Speleothems; U/Th series dating; palaeoseismicity; Pleistocene; Bohemian Massif; Western Carpathians

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