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The Jettencave, Southern Harz Mountains, Germany: Geophysical observations and a structural model of a shallow cave in gypsum/anhydrite-bearing rocks
- Kaufmann, Georg, Romanov, Douchko
- Geomorphology 2017 v.298 pp. 20-30
- Permian period, anhydrite, drainage, electrical conductivity, electrical resistance, geometry, geophysics, gravity, ground-penetrating radar, gypsum, image analysis, models, mountains, preferential flow, rocks, surveys, water table, Germany
- Gypsum and anhydrite are soluble rocks, where fissures and bedding partings can be enlarged with time by the dissolution of the mineral species through water. The selective enlargement results in sub-surface voids acting as preferential flow path for the drainage of the rock. With time, larger cavities develop, and a network of cave passages can evolve. If the enlarged cave voids are not too deep under the surface, geophysical measurements can be used to detect, identify and trace these structures. We have used gravity measurements (GRAV), electrical resistivity imaging (ERI), self-potential measurements (SP), electrical conductivity measurements (EC), and ground-penetrating radar (GPR) above the cave Jettenhöhle, a cave located in the southern Harz Mountains in Germany. The Jettencave is developed in the Hauptanhydrit formation of the Permian Zechstein sequence, characterised by large breakdown rooms and an exposed water table. The overburden of the cave is only around 10–15m, and dolomitic rocks are located in close vicinity. We present results from our geophysical surveys in vicinity of the cave. We are able to identify the cave geometry from GRAV, ERI, and GPR measurements, which distinguish the local lithology of the Permian Zechstein rocks in the area. From the ERI and EC measurements, we derive information on the void volume in the soluble rocks. We finally present a three-dimensional structural model of the Jettencave and its surroundings, based on our geophysical results and the hydrological interpretation.