ABSTRACT: The transition zone of the Eastern Alps to the Pannonian Basin provides one of the best sources of information on landscape evolution of the Eastern Alpine mountain range. The region was non-glaciated during the entire Pleistocene. Thus, direct influence of glacial carving as a landscape forming process can be excluded and relics of landforms are preserved that date back to at least the Late Neogene. In this study, we provide a correlation between various planation surfaces across the orogen-basin transition. In particular, we use stream terraces, planation surfaces and cave levels that cover a vertical spread of some 700 m. Our correlation is used to show that both sides of the transition zone uplifted together starting at least about 5 Ma ago. For our correlation we use recently published terrestrial cosmogenic nuclide (TCN) burial ages from cave sediments, new optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) ages of a stream terrace and U-Th ages from speleothems. Minimum age constraints of cave levels from burial ages of cave sediments covering the last ~ 4 Ma are used to place age constraints on surface features by parallelizing cave levels with planation surfaces. The OSL results for the top section of the type locality of the Helfbrunn terrace suggest an Early Würm development (80.5 ± 3.7 to 68.7 ± 4.0 ka). The terrace origin as a penultimate gravel deposit (in classical Alpine terminology Riss) is therefore questioned. U-series speleothem ages from caves nearby indicate formation during Marine Isotope Stages (MIS) 5c and 5a which are both interstadial warm periods. As OSL ages from the terrace also show a time of deposition during MIS 5a ending at the MIS 5/4 transition, this supports the idea of temperate climatic conditions at the time of deposition. In general, tectonic activity is interpreted to be the main driving force for the formation and evolution of these landforms, whilst climate change is suggested to be of minor importance. Obvious hiatuses in Miocene to Pleistocene sediments are related to ongoing erosion and re-excavation of an uplifting and rejuvenating landscape.
Geomorphology (Amsterdam, Netherlands). 11/2011; 134(1-2):62-78.