Geology: Completed Research Projects
In one horizon especially rich in fossils at Kühwiesenkopf (Olang/Valdao, Pusteria Valley), well-preserved fauna and flora were discovered. The fossils were localized by the collector Michael Wachtler in 1999 and in part removed from the site by him.
The fossil-bearing strata of Kühwiesenkopf are characterized by the excellent state of preservation of a – for Central Europe – rare plant community, the Anisian (Middle Triassic Period). The leaves, branches, trunks, cones, and seeds of at least 36 species (29 genera) belonging to the lycopods, horsetails, ferns, pteridospermae (seed ferns), and cycads, and conifers have been identified. Some species of ferns (e.g. Scolopendrites grauvogelii and Gordonopteris lorigae - van Konijnenburg - van Cittert et al. 2006) and the great range in species of the seed ferns and cycads are particularly interesting. Some of the specimens are among the oldest representatives of their kind. Because of the numerous and high-quality finds, it was possible to reconstruct the corresponding primeval plants with much greater accuracy than was previously possible.
The goal of this project was to explore and systematically record the fossil fauna in the Puez marls of the Puez-Gherdenacia (located between Col la Pieres and Col dla Soned). This fauna stems from the Lower Cretaceous; the time stretching from the Lower Valanginian to the Baremian was directly confirmed, though there were only indirect signs of the Aptian. The project was carried out by Christian Aspmair, Prof. Karl Krainer (University of Innsbruck), and Alexander Lukeneder (Museum of Natural History of Vienna).
In two distinctive horizons at Monte Pic-Balest and Seceda (Gröden / Val Gardena), a rich fauna of nautiloids were investigated which had been discovered in the Bellerophon Formation (Upper Permian). These more than 100 collected specimens represent perhaps the largest nautilus fauna of the Permian Tethys Sea, and is characterized by especially large individual species. The project was carried out by Herwig Prinoth under the leadership of Prof. Renato Posenato (University of Ferrara).