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The crystalline basement of the Tauern Window is locally covered by Palaeozoic to Mesozoic sediments that experienced Alpine tectonometamorphism. The sedimentary cover has been subdivided into mappable lithological units. The correlation of these units, the use of some dated marker intervals and independent palinspastic restoration provide evidence that the depositional area was differentiated into basins and swells. At the end of the Variscan orogeny, during the Carboniferous and Permian, intermontane basins formed in basement rocks and mainly continental clastics accumulated in elongate troughs. Later, probably during the Triassic, there was levelling of the previous relief and subsidence of the basins, but continental sedimentation still prevailed although interrupted by some marine transgressions. Thereafter, probably during the Jurassic, the area was progressively flooded and the sedimentation became increasingly calcareous. The Upper Jurassic carbonates document complete submergence. In some areas, the Upper Jurassic carbonates directly rest on crystalline basement indicating renewed tectonic stretching. The sedimentary cover shows striking similarities with coeval deposits within the Germanic Basin and the study area is therefore considered to have been part of the southern European continental margin of the Tethys (the so-called Vindelician Land).

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