The Western and Eastern Alps collide in the middle of Liechtenstein.
The boundary runs northeast, from Luziensteig through Vaduz. The largest part of the Alpine area belongs to the East Alpine facies, while the Fläscherberg and Schellenberg jut out of the Rhine Valley as foothills of the Helvetic zone. The northernmost part of the Fläscherberg, with the prominent Ellhorn, reaches into Liechtenstein territory. Its western slopes, as well as the western slopes of the Schellenberg and the Schlosswald between Vaduz and Meierhof, are covered with loess. The Quintner limestone of the Ellhorn from the Malm age forms a natural bank of the Rhine. To the north, the castle hill of Gutenberg again rises as part of the Helvetic zone from the Rhine Valley. The Helvetic layer of Schellenberg is very rich in fossils. Belemnites can be found in its Schrattenkalk limestone, fish teeth in the Luitere fossil bed, ammonites, shells, and snails in the Lochwald stratum from the limestone age.
The meeting of the Eastern and Western Alps contributes to the
geological diversity of Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein: a varied field of activity for interested hikers and
collectors of fossils and mineral
The transition from the Helvetic zone to the East Alpine zone is made up of the Upper Helvetic-Penninic Flysch zone. It can be divided into three technical entities, namely the Vorarlberg Flysch from Maurerberg to the east of Schaan, the Vaduz Flysch from Wildschloss toward Triesen, and the Triesen Flysch to the south of Triesen. The Planken series can be found in the Vorarlberg Flysch from the Cretaceous, which is up to 1000 meters thick. The Planken series consists mainly of fucoids and helminthoids, algae and worm fossils. The Planken series is rich in both macrofossils and microfossils. In some places, a compression zone forms the transition to the East Alpine layer. The lower compression zone contains colorful, light-green quartz sandstone and pale red marl; the upper zone contains breccias, aptychus limestone, and Verrucano new red sandstone. These correspond to the Arosa suture zone. It also contains Mesozoic shale, Weissfluh breccias and sandstone, as they are found at the western base of the Weissfluh near Davos. The Triassic Lechtal layer belongs to the Eastern Alps. The lowest stratum is in part new red sandstone, in part muschelkalk, to which the Partnach shale and limestone layers adjoin. The steep cliffs in the south of the Malbun valley and of the Hahnenspiel in the Samina valley are made up of limestone and dolomite from the Arlberg strata. The Raibler strata in the Lechtal zone present an attractive landscape. They contain limestone, shale, gypsum, dolomite, rauhwacken, and sandstone.
Between Malbun and Sassfürkle, there are many funnels that were created by gypsum collapses. Gypsum crystals (Marienglas) can be found in them. To the north of the Erble, the gypsum gives rise to a source, the water of which separates milk. The shale and sandstone contains many fossils such as ferns, horsetails, worm constructs and traces. The massive mountains such as Ochsenkopf, Zigerberg, Gallinakopf, Three Sisters, Kuhgrat, and Alpspitz are made up of hauptdolomit. In the Three Sisters region, hematite crystals can be found in hand-size sheets. The strata in the Falknis zone are from the Jurassic and Eocene. The Falknis-Breccia series is a witness of a society of lifeforms on the pre-historic seashore. In the detritus of the reef limestone, petrified fragments of corals, belemnites, shells, worm constructs, sea urchins, snails, sponges, and sea lilies can be found.
The microfauna of the couches rouges is particularly rich, especially the globotruncana in the gray and red marl and limestone. Between Triesenberg and Gapfahl-Obersäss, the thin but long Sulzfluh zone extends. In addition to the already known couches rouges, shale, and flysch, it mainly contains light-gray limestone, but also granite. Granite, some of which is in the form of erratics, can also be found with gneiss and siderite containing garnet in the moraine of the Rhine glacier. Parts of the moraine of the Ill glacier in the north of the country also contain paragneiss with garnet. The Rhine Valley itself also raises geological questions. In theory, the Rhine should flow through the Seez valley to the Walensee Lake and Lake Zurich. It has still not been determined without a doubt whether the Rhine Valley is a geotechnical depression or the result of erosion. It may also have been formed through fault fissures.
This overview demonstrates the geological and paleontological richness of the Liechtenstein region, resulting primarily from the subduction of the Eastern and Western Alps and from the pre-historic seashore. Geologically interested hikers, fossil and mineral collectors will therefore find many possible activities in this small area.