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The Muskau Arch – a geomorphological and geophysical approach on glacial tectonics

The Muskau Arch (MA) is located in the border area of the federal states of Brandenburg and Saxony and Poland.

The Muskau Arch is part of the main Warthian terminal moraine in Germany. With its U-shaped form, it is the southernmost extension of the Warthe glaciation in Germany. The width reaches c. 20 km and the arc depth c. 22 km.

The morphology of the Muskau Arch is characterized by compression, folding and overthrusting of Tertiary strata. Including special features, such as a multitude of Gieser structures or folded Pleistocene channel deposits. The so-called Gieser (Wendish Jeser/ jezero: swamp) are terrain furrows with a maximum depth of 20 m, a width of 10 m to 30 m and a length of up to several kilometers. Thus they represent a characteristic geomorphological element. They were formed by weathering and oxidation of the tertiary lignite seams, which were folded by glacial deformations.

In addition to these structures, there are further glacial forms in the area of the Muskau Arch, which are partly visible in the morphology and partly can only be mapped as glacial structures by geological exploration.

In this Study glacitectonic structures (i.e. diapirs, rupture structures, folding and faulting) are analysed and reconstructed focussing on scales, depth range characteristic shapes. These structural geological investigations were based on geophysical methods (near-seismic, gravimetry, geoelectric soundings and mapping as well as borehole geophysical measurements).


Sebastian Donke1
1Landesamt für Bergbau, Geologie und Rohstoffe Brandenburg, Germany
GeoBerlin 2023