Page:EB1911 - Volume 02.djvu/1022

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
971
AUSTRIA
an area of 12,000 sq. m. The Vistula and the Oder both fall into the Baltic. The former rises in Moravia, flows first north through Austrian Silesia, then takes an easterly direction along the borders of Prussian Silesia, and afterwards a north-easterly, separating Galicia from Russian Poland, and leaving Austria not far from Sandomir. Its course in Austria is 240 m., draining an area of 15,500 sq. m. It is navigable for nearly 200 m., and its principal affluents are the Dunajec, the San and the Bug. The Oder has also its source in Moravia, flows first east and then north-east through Austrian Silesia into Prussia. Its length within the Austrian territory is only about 55 m., no part of which is navigable. The only river of this country which flows into the North Sea is the Elbe. It has its source in the Riesengebirge, not far from the Schneekoppe, flows first south, then west, and afterwards north-west through Bohemia, and then enters Saxony. Its principal affluents are the Adler, Iser and Eger, and, most important of all, the Moldau. The Elbe has a course within the Austrian dominions of 185 m., for about 65 of which it is navigable. It drains an area of upwards of 21,000 sq. m. The Rhine, though scarcely to be reckoned a river of the country, flows for about 25 m. of its course between it and Switzerland. The principal river of Austria which falls into the Adriatic is the Adige or Etsch. It rises in the mountains of Tirol, flows south, then east, and afterwards south, into the plains of Lombardy. It has in Austria a course of 138 m., and drains an area of 4266 sq. m. Its principal affluent is the Eisak. Of the streams which have their course entirely within the country, and fall into the Adriatic, the principal is the Isonzo, 75 m. in length, but navigable only for a short distance from its mouth.
Lakes.—Austria does not possess any great lakes; but has numerous small mountain lakes situated in the Alpine region, the most renowned for the beauty of their situation being found in Salzburg, Salzkammergut, Tirol and Carinthia. There should also be mentioned the periodical lakes situated in the Karst region, the largest of them being the Lake of Zirknitz. The numerous and large marshes, found now mostly in Galicia and Dalmatia, have been greatly reduced in the other provinces through the canalization of the rivers, and other works of sanitation.
Mineral Springs.—No other European country equals Austria in the number and value of its mineral springs. They are mostly to be found in Bohemia, and are amongst the most frequented watering-places in the world. The most important are, the alkaline springs of Carlsbad, Marienbad, Franzensbad and Bilin; the alkaline acidulated waters of Giesshübel, largely used as table waters; the iron springs of Marienbad, Franzensbad and of Pyrawarth in Lower Austria; the bitter waters of Püllna, Saidschitz and Sedlitz; the saline waters of Ischl and of Aussee in Styria; the iodine waters of Hall in Upper Austria; the different waters of Gastein; and lastly the thermal waters of Teplitz-Schönau, Johannisbad, and of Römerbad in Styria. Altogether there are reckoned to exist over 1500 mineral springs, of which many are not used.

 (O. Br.) 

Geology.—The Austro-Hungarian Monarchy is traversed by the great belt of folded beds which constitutes the Alps and the Carpathians; a secondary branch proceeding from the main belt runs along the Adriatic coast and forms the Julian and Dinaric Alps. In the space which is thus enclosed, lies the Tertiary basin of the Hungarian plain; and outside the belt, on the northern side, is a region which, geologically, is composite, but has uniformly resisted the Carpathian folding. In the neighbourhood of Vienna a gap in the folded belt—the gap between the Alps and the Carpathians—has formed a connexion between these two regions since the early part of the Miocene period. On its outer or convex side the folded belt is clearly defined by a depression which is generally filled by modern deposits. Beyond this, in Russia and Galicia, lies an extensive plateau, much of which is covered by flat-lying Miocene and Pliocene beds; but in the deep valleys of the Dniester and its tributaries the ancient rocks which form the foundation of the plateau are laid bare. Archaean granite is thus exposed at Yampol and other places in Russia, and this is followed towards the west by Silurian and Devonian beds in regular succession—the Devonian being of the Old Red Sandstone type characteristic of the British Isles and of Northern Russia. Throughout, the dip is very low and the beds are unaffected by the Carpathian folds, the strike being nearly from north to south. After Devonian times the region seems to have been dry land until the commencement of the Upper Cretaceous period, when it was overspread by the Cenomanian sea, and the deposits of that sea lie flat upon the older sediments.
Some 25 or 30 m. of undulating country separate the Dniester from the margin of the Carpathian chain, and in this space the Palaeozoic floor sinks far beneath the surface, so that not even the deep-cut valley of the Pruth exposes any beds of older date than Miocene. Towards the north-west, also, the Palaeozoic foundation falls beneath an increasing thickness of Cretaceous beds and lies buried far below the surface. At Lemberg a boring 1650 ft. in depth did not reach the base of the Senonian. West of Cracow the Cretaceous beds are underlaid by Jurassic and Triassic deposits, the general dip being eastward. It is not till Silesia that the Palaeozoic formations again rise to the surface. Here is the margin, often concealed by very modern deposits, of the great mass of Archaean and Palaeozoic rocks which forms nearly the whole of Bohemia and Moravia. The Palaeozoic beds no longer lie flat and undisturbed, as in the Polish plain. They are faulted and folded. But the folds are altogether independent of those of the Carpathians; they are of much earlier date, and are commonly different in direction. The principal biding took place towards the close of the Carboniferous period, and the massif is a fragment of an ancient mountain chain, the Variscische Gebirge of E. Suess, which in Permian and Triassic times stretched across the European area from west to east.
In Bohemia and Moravia the whole of the beds from the Cambrian to the Lower Carboniferous are of marine origin; but after the Carboniferous period the area appears to have been dry land until the beginning of the Upper Cretaceous period, when the sea again spread over it. The deposits of this sea are now visible in the large basin of Upper Cretaceous beds which stretches from Dresden southeastward through Bohemia. Since the close of the Cretaceous period the Bohemian massif has remained above the sea; but the depression which lies immediately outside the Carpathian chain has at times been covered by an arm of the sea and at other times has been occupied by a chain of salt lakes, to which the salt deposits of Wieliczka and numerous brine springs owe their origin.


1911 Britannica - Map of Austria-Hungary.png
Geological Map of Austria-Hungary.


The large area which is enclosed within the curve of the Carpathians is for the most part covered by loess, alluvium and other modern deposits, but Miocene and Pliocene beds appear around its borders. In the hilly region of western Transylvania a large mass of more ancient rocks is exposed; the Carboniferous system and all the Mesozoic systems have been recognized here, and granite and volcanic rocks occur. In the middle of Hungary a line of hills rises above the plain, striking from the Platten See towards the north-east, where it merges into the inner girdle of the Carpathian chain. These hills are largely formed of volcanic rocks of late Tertiary age; but near the Platten See Triassic beds of Alpine type are well developed. The Tertiary eruptions were not confined to this line of hills. They were most extensive along the inner border of the Carpathians, and they occurred also in the north of Bohemia. Most of the eruptions took place during the Miocene and Pliocene periods.
The mineral wealth of Austria is very great. The older rocks are in many places peculiarly rich in metalliferous ores of all kinds. Amongst them may be mentioned the silver-bearing lead ores of Erzgebirge and of Přibram in Bohemia; the iron ores of Styria and Bukovina; and the iron, copper, cobalt and nickel of the districts of Zips and Gomor. The famous cinnabar and mercury mines of Idria in Carniola are in Triassic beds; and the gold and silver of northern Hungary and of Transylvania are associated with the Tertiary volcanic rocks. The Carboniferous coal-fields of Silesia and Bohemia are of the greatest importance; while Jurassic coal is worked at Steyerdorf and Fünfkirchen in Hungary, and lignite at many places in the Tertiary beds. The great salt mines of Galicia are in Miocene deposits; but salt is also worked largely in the Trias of the Alps. (See also Alps; Carpathians; Hungary and Tirol.)

 (P. La.) 

Climate.—The climate of Austria, in consequence of its great extent, and the great differences in the elevation of its surface, is very various. It is usual to divide it into three distinct zones. The most southern extends to 46° N. lat., and includes Dalmatia and the country along the coast, together with the southern portions of Tirol and Carinthia. Here the seasons are mild and equable, the winters are short (snow seldom falling), and the summers last for five months. The vine and maize are everywhere cultivated, as well as olives and other southern products. In the south of Dalmatia tropical plants flourish in the open air. The central zone lies between 46° and 49° N. lat., and includes Lower and Upper Austria, Salzburg, Styria, Carinthia, Carniola, Central and Northern Tirol, Southern Moravia