Schmidt-hammer exposure-age dating (SHD) of rock glaciers in the Schöderkogel-Eisenhut area, Schladminger Tauern Range, Austria

Andreas Kellerer-Pirklbauer-Eulenstein, Matthias Rode

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Schmidt-hammer rebound values (R-values) enable relative-age dating of landforms, with R-values relating to degree of weathering and therefore length of exposure. This method – recently termed as Schmidt-hammer exposure-age dating (SHD) – was applied to date five rock glaciers (size range, 0.01–0.12 km2) and one recent rockfall deposit at the study area Schöderkogel-Eisenhut, in the Schladminger Tauern Range (14°03′E, 47°15′N), Austria. The rock glaciers consist of gneiss or high metamorphic series of mica-schist that are comparable in their R-values. Four of them are relict (permafrost absent) and one is intact (containing patches of permafrost). On each of the five rock glaciers, SHD was carried out at 4–6 sites (50 measurements per site) along a longitudinal transect from the frontal ridge to the root zone. Results at all five rock glaciers are generally consistent with each other sharing statistically significant R-values along transects. The range between the highest and the lowest mean R-value at each of the five rock glaciers is 9.9–5.2. Using rock glacier length and surface velocity data from nearby sites, the rock glacier development must have lasted for several thousand years. Furthermore, by using SHD results from rock glaciers of known age from other sites in the region with comparable geology, approximate surface ages of 6.7–11.4 ka were estimated. This indicates long formation periods for all five rock glaciers. Our results suggest that many of the 1300 relict rock glaciers in central and eastern Austria were formed over a long period during the Lateglacial and Holocene period.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)761-771
JournalThe Holocene
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Fields of Expertise

  • Information, Communication & Computing

Treatment code (Nähere Zuordnung)

  • Basic - Fundamental (Grundlagenforschung)


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