Holocene tufa in the Slovak Karst: facies, sedimentary environments and depositional history

Michał Gradziński, Helena Hercman, Martyna Jaśkiewicz, Stanisław Szczurek


Several tufa complexes are known in the Slovak Karst which is a typical karst area of a temperate climate. This area is built of Mesozoic carbonates, mainly Triassic in age. The karst systems drain carbonate plateaux and lead water to resurgences located in valleys which are up to 300 m deep. Below the resurgences there are Holocene fossil tufa deposits that exceed 12 m in thickness. The tufas include stromatolite, moss, phytoclastic, oncoidal, and intraclastic facies. Extensive barrages which once dammed the upper reaches of the streams were formed in narrow valleys. They are composed predominantly of moss facies and stromatolites, with subordinate oncoidal and phytoclastic facies. Phytoclastic, oncoidal and intraclastic facies are dominant in dammed segments of streams, and include gastropod shells and charcoal fragments. Some small moss cushions are also developed. Barrages and dammed areas formed in a longitudinal fluvial depositional system. Conversely, below resurgences located on plateau slopes tufas of a perched springline depositional system were formed. These comprise deposits of prograding cascades constructed by moss, phytoclastic and stromatolitic facies. Presently, the tufas analysed are inactive. They stopped growing in the Late Holocene time, after which there was abrupt incision of the streams. This caused downcutting into Holocene tufas, in some places reaching Mesozoic bedrock. At present tufa is being precipitated from streams in all the sites studied.



fluvial tufa, perched spingline tufa, radiocarbon dating, Quaternary, late Holocene tufa decline, Central Carpathians

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7306/gq.1131