Obir Dripstone Caves
The geological history of the Geopark is long. The oldest stone formations in the area date from around 500 million years ago. The area has a rich mining, iron and coal mining tradition. By promoting and protecting its geological heritage, we would like to show the link between its geology and its ways of life in the past and today. Due to the varied geological basis of the area, the habitats, vegetation and fauna have developed the same richness and variation. We would like to demonstrate in detail how geology and biology, and with them geodiversity and biodiversity, are mutually dependent. The Geopark, with its several millions years of history, has many interesting stories to tell. Through education, promotion and awareness-raising, we would like to show that the geological structure and processes, i.e. the geological heritage, is the basis of our life, and that it can be destroyed by thoughtless actions, thereby causing irreparable harm to both nature and ourselves. However, with thoughtful visits and by observing this geological heritage, we can enjoy its beauty and learn a lot about ourselves and processes that have shaped – and are still shaping – the territory of this Geopark.
Geological map of the Geopark Karavanke
The Karavanke Mountain Range was formed during the still ongoing second stage of Alpidic orogenesis since the Eocene. Pressure between European and African tectonic plates and rotation of the latter resulted in lateral eastward displacement of up to 250 kms of nothern limb along the Periadriatic Lineament fault zone, and formation of divergent multi-nappe »flower structure« perpendicular to it.
The northern part of the root zone is built up of intrusive breccias from gabbro to sienite in composition. Southern zone is built from Oligocene tonalite intrusions. The oldest regional metamorphic rocks in the core zone have been overprinted by contact metamorphic processes. Intensive synchronous volcanism produced a pyroclastic rock succession. A whole range of regional ultra high- to low-metamorphic rocks belonging to the European plate are exposed to the north of the Geopark Karavanke. They result from the collision of continental plates. The south and north wedging nappes are built up of Paleo-Tethys and Tethys Ocean sediments of Ordovician to Lower Cretaceous mostly platform carbonate sediments with many type localities of fossils. Clastic sediments of the northern foothils are syncronous to the K.Mts uplift. Mt. Peca contains world-class Pb-Zn strata bound mineralisation and a unique Zn-Pb stratiform mineral deposit Topla, which are presented at the Museum in Mežica. Minerals dravite and wulfenite with their type localities are an important geological heritage. Glacial, fluvial and karst geomorphic processes have carved a picturesque topography. The Stone Age artefacts found in karst caves are important for the understanding of human development.