International Journal of Earth Sciences

, Volume 102, Issue 2, pp 517–543 | Cite as

Basin formation during the post-collisional evolution of the Eastern Alps: the example of the Lavanttal Basin

  • Doris ReischenbacherEmail author
  • Reinhard F. Sachsenhofer
Original Paper


The Miocene Lavanttal Basin formed in the Eastern Alps during extrusion of crustal blocks towards the east. In contrast to basins, which formed contemporaneously along the strike-slip faults of the Noric Depression and on top of the moving blocks (Styrian Basin), little is known about the Lavanttal Basin. In this paper geophysical, sedimentological, and structural data are used to study structure and evolution of the Lavanttal Basin. The eastern margin of the 2-km-deep basin is formed by the WNW trending Koralm Fault. The geometry of the gently dipping western basin flank shows that the present-day basin is only a remnant of a former significantly larger basin. Late Early (Karpatian) and early Middle Miocene (Badenian) pull-apart phases initiated basin formation and deposition of thick fluvial (Granitztal Beds), lacustrine, and marine (Mühldorf Fm.) sediments. The Mühldorf Fm. represents the Lower Badenian cycle TB2.4. Another flooding event caused brackish environments in late Middle Miocene (Early Sarmatian) time, whereas freshwater environments existed in Late Sarmatian time. The coal-bearing Sarmatian succession is subdivided into four fourth-order sequences. The number of sequences suggests that the effect of tectonic subsidence was overruled by sea-level fluctuations during Sarmatian time. Increased relief energy caused by Early Pannonian pull-apart activity initiated deposition of thick fluvial sediments. The present-day shape of the basin is a result of young (Plio-/Pleistocene) basin inversion. In contrast to the multi-stage Lavanttal Basin, basins along the Noric Depression show a single-stage history. Similarities between the Lavanttal and Styrian basins exist in Early Badenian and Early Sarmatian times.


Miocene Carinthia Austria Structural geology Coal Sequence stratigraphy 



The authors wish to thank Gerhard Harer (HL-AG), Richard Otto (3G), and the Federal Government of Carinthia for providing a wealth of geological data, and Richard Otto, Gerald Pischinger (3G), and Wilfried Gruber (HOT) for valuable discussions on the Lavanttal Basin. We expand our thanks to Christian Schmid who offered a possibility to reprocess seismic lines at Joanneum Research (Leoben) to DR. Major parts of the work were performed using Petrel software, which was provided generously by Schlumberger within the frame of a software grant. We thank H.-G. Linzer, W.E. Piller, and W.-C. Dullo for their constructive critiques of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Doris Reischenbacher
    • 1
    Email author
  • Reinhard F. Sachsenhofer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Applied Geosciences and GeophysicsMontanuniversitaet LeobenLeobenAustria

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