Austria's most fascinating natural wonder
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Good to know
For visitors who first visit the Obir dripstone caves, a lot of terms may be new and unknown. To help, we have provided some explanations:
- Stalagmite: a formation that grows from the bottom up – if water drips on the floor, drops suddenly increase their surface. In most, stalagmites are stronger than stalactites; the dripping water does not accumulate at the top, but escapes down the growing stalagmite, and deposits the containing limestone. In the limestone caves, the drops are so tight together, that a mighty cylindrical or tapered stalagmites or even stalagmite massif may arise.
- Stalactite: a formation that grows from the ceiling – if the site of the speleothem is not exactly defined, the result is a tapered plug. If at this point only a little water containing limestone runs, and this occur in the vicinity of the cave ceiling, a stalactite gets stocky shape. If, however, there is plenty of water, containing limestone, and is deposited over the entire surface of stalactites, a form of tapered slim is conceived. In some caves , the inflow of water is so constant, and the drops are so pure, that they become transparent. Stalactites are the most frequent sinter formations and in some cases may grow up to several meters. Weight and grip on the ceiling, put limits on their growth
- Speleothem pillars: Speleothem formations of stalagmites and stalactites, which have grown together. If these two stalactite and stalagmite formations have enough time to overgrow together, the result is a speleothem pillar. Over time, they lose their tapered shape, because limestone starts loading the entire length of the pillar.
- Flowstone drapery: A diverse sinter formation, resulting from the elimination of minerals from liquid water. These diverse sinter formations are often recognizable by their lines. If the water, that flows down, contains enough limestone, and flow on the blade for a long period of time, it may end up as an stalactite.
- Lake with sinter formations: Set of water containing secretions of minerals.
- Excentrique: cross-growing sinter formation (apparent growth against gravity). The total effect of the capillaries, flowstone, and a slight movement of air, form the most fragile, but also the most special speleothem formations. They arise out of thin cracks on the walls of the sinter cracks or macaroni. They are composed of calcite, and possibly containing one or more capillary channels through which they supply themselves. With even the slightest wind, the growth direction of an excentriquea can change. This gives rise to a wide variety of forms, which sometimes resemble the coral, flowers, spirals or small trees. The most recognizable formation in the Obir dripstone caves is the hook for clothes in Mala Jama (little cave).
- Macaroni: thin and young speleothems on the ceiling of the hall. They are born in small quantities with the precise drip water intake on the ceiling of the cave. In doing so, the water flows into the inside of the sinter tubes, so every drop of imposing limestone in centered solely on the lower part. In favorable conditions, macaroni may grow up to several meters.
- Dripstone candles: These are sharpened stalactites with a slim design – under the influence of speed, drops are becoming slimmer and often end with a bent shape. In the high halls, the force of the drops is so strong, that flat tabs can also arise.
- Sintered beads: sinters are formed in depressions with slightly moving water – described as jewelry of the cave and mining world. Enriching, like speleothems, with dripping, and they get their pearly shape with rubbing gently with a moving flat water sinter basin.
Did you know?
- The postage stamp with the Obir dripstone caves motif – on 26th of March 1991, an occasional stamp entered the market (idea and the first draft of Monika Haderlapp). A stamp, which shows a group of dripstones called “pagoda”, was printed in the series representing the natural beauty of Austria and the individual provinces, and in which two special stamps are formed in a year. On the first day of issue, an event was organized in Eisenkappel, to share autographs by Mrs. Professor Annemarie Kalina.
- Heritage Preservation … “Long Cave” and “Little Cave” belong, by its specific nature and scientific importance, under the monument protection.
- More than 100km of tunnels are in the mountains of Hochobir, and are affectionately named “Emmentaler” mountain hut Eisenkappel
- Natural ventilation in the Obir dripstone caves
- 90% air humidity in the cave
- +8°C, the constant temperature in the cave
- The air does not contain dust, pollen or call
- Lampenflora are all plants that occur around the lights in landscaped caves
- A shaft is what we call vertical caves
- Bedding plane is the space between layers of rock
- Schluf – part of the cave that can only be reached by crawling
- A primary cave is what we call cavities, which occurred in the creation and formation of rocks
- A secondary cave is what we call cavities, which are formed later with washing
- Sintered coatings are caused by the crystallization of dissolved minerals
- Speleology is a study of the underground, karst caves
- Troglobiont, an animal linked to the subterranean environment
- Troglophils are uncommon cave inhabitants, such as bats, which can be found in the Obir dripstone caves
- Trogloxens are random cave inhabitants, such as dormice
- Cave ventilation or natural circulation of air in the cave
Even more interesting information can be found in the Downloads section.