Recent movement potentials in Schleswig-Holstein, Northern Germany

The development of the Northwest German basin and its modern surface topography is influenced by a high number of endogenic and exogenic processes, i.e. tectonics, volcanism, diapirism, ice shields, Elsterian tunnel valleys and the deposition of Quaternary sediments. In order to investigate connections between deep tectonic and halokinetic structures (Fig.1) and the development of recent topography, quantification of recent movement potentials was carried out for the area of Schleswig-Holstein (Germany) in consideration of the following parameter: 

  • salt structures
  • tectonic faults
  • near surface faults that will crop out on the recent surface with the utmost probability
  • elsterian tunnel valleys
  • historic earthquakes
  • mapped lineaments on satellite imagery
  • GIS-based calculation of correlation coefficients between different stratigraphic horizons of the deep Northwest German Basin according to the "Geotektonischer Atlas von NW-Deutschland" and surface topography of Schleswig-Holstein (Fig.2).

The results show appearance of recent movement potential that mainly is caused by tectonic faults and salt structures. Thus recent movement potential mainly is given within the area of the Glückstadt-Trough. Highest movement potentials are concentrated in five areas, i.e. the areas Sterup, Schwarzenbek, Plön, to the north of Tellingstedt and to the north of Oldensworth (Fig.3). The quantified movement potential describe recent processes wirhin these areas. Active faults are located in the areas Sterup, Schwarzenbek and Plön. Their activity is documented by the course of mapped lineaments that fit with the crop out of near surface faults. In addition, a recently subsiding axial depression is located in the area Plön. The recent activity is caused by solution of sediments below the depression.
For areas with high movement potential the influence of tectonic and halokinetic structures on the development of recent topography is documented. Thus near surface faults have an influence on the development of lake Plön. In the areas Schwarzenbek near surface faults cause a deviation of the river Elbe. For the areas Sterup and Oldensworth an interaction between ice loading and mobility of salt can be shown. Thus deposition of Quaternary sediments and the development of the catchment areas of the rivers Eider and Schlei-Trave are influenced by salt rise of the salt structures Sterup and Meezen. In the area Oldensworth cross sections illustrate the dependence between salt rise and the deposition of Quaternary sediments. The course of the river Elbe from Hamburg to its river mouth is influenced by salt structures that are located in the upper 1000 m.


 Recent Movement Potential Schleswig-Holstein Quantified recent movement potential on the basis of seven parameters for the area of Schleswig-Holstein. In addition salt structures, faults from Base Zechstein to Base Middle Miocene/Pliocene (after Baldschuhn et al. 1996) and projected near surface faults are displayed. Altogether 5 areas show increased movement potential (Lehné 2005).  
 Result of the correlation between Base Zechstein and Base Upper Cretaceous for the area of Schleswig-Holstein. A high positive correlation coefficient (r = 0.75 to 1) is coloured red, a negative correlation coefficient (r = -0.75 to -1) is coloured yellow. In addition the salt structures of the Base Zechstein (after Baldschuhn et al. 1996) are displayed. Salt structures: I = Oldensworth, II = Hennstedt, IV = Oldenbüttel, VI = Warnau, VII = Segeberg, VIII = Sterup, XIII = NW-SE trending correlation area in the northwest of the study area. Green: rim of the Glückstadt Trough.