Abstract

Permian salt in the Hallstatt and neighboring salt structures of the Eastern Alps (Austria) crops out along with Triassic deep-water deposits that are at odds with the surrounding Triassic platform carbonates. The traditional interpretation of this juxtaposition is that the salt bodies were emplaced in the Late Jurassic as gravity nappes onto the carbonate platforms, in what has been considered to be the earliest orogenic event in the Eastern Alps. Here we describe for the first time a world-class outcrop of halokinetic sequences in Triassic platform carbonates flanking the Hallstatt diapir. Combining this with other outcrop evidence, we prove that the Hallstatt diapir grew passively during the Triassic, surrounded by carbonate platforms, and extruded to the seabed during the Jurassic. The development of the Hallstatt diapir in a platform setting disproves its emplacement as a gravity-driven nappe, proves the relevance of salt tectonics in the Mesozoic development of the Eastern Alps, and challenges the existence of a Late Jurassic Alpine orogenic event.

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