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Non-karstic Caves of the Cserhát Mountains

The 3000 km2 Cserhát Mountains form the hill countryof the North Hungarian Mountains between the Börzsöny and MátraMountains. The major part of the landscape consists of  low hills formed of sandstone and clay. In the south-western area of the region, tectonic upheaval has caused Triassic limestone blocks to rise from the younger sediments.In the middle and eastern areas of the mountains andesite rift volcanoes  appear.

The caves of the region are very diverse as a consequence of the varied geomorphology, the different rock formations and the complex development  of the landscape (repeated uplifting, sinking and volcanic activity). About120 karst caves are known in the Triassic limestone blocks, which coverless than 1% of the area (20 km2).

The 24 non-karstic caves have developed mainly in sedimentary formations  and subordinately in volcanic rocks. Six caves occur in calcareous, in quartziferous  or in marly sandstone. In marly clay   and in compact clay (called "slir" locally) 3 caves have been listed.

Five caves have developed in andesite. Tree mold caves occur in rhyodacite  tuff  beyond the Hungarian border in Slovakia and in andesit-conglomerate- sandstone formation near Nógrádszakál village. Seven other caves are known in the surrounding of Nógrádszakál village also in andesit-conglomerate - sandstone formation. Ten artificial caves in andesite tuff and in loess have also been listed, because they are considered as caves by the local population.

Three of the four cave in andesite are syngenetic. They have been   formed by a volcanic steam explosion ( Függ õ-kõi   Cave, "Dupla-üreg" and the now destroyed Sámsonházi Bubble Cave), which   are witnesses to the intensity of the Miocene volcanic activity. The   fourth non-karstic cave, the Sárkányfürdõ Cave has been formed by the   lateral erosion of Cserkúti Creek.      

One cave is known in andesite agglomerate. The 21 m long Erdõkürti Andesite Cave opens in a quarry. It appears to be a syngeneticcave. On the swampy moorland falling hot volcanic gravel heated upthe swamp water, pressure of the steam which was generated as a result of this caused a hollow to form in the andesitic gravel.

In the marly clay, in sandstone, and in compact clay, the caves are usually formed as a result of rock fragmentation. The Felsõpetényi Cave and the Pappenheim Cave are the results of this break down. The Bercel-hegyi Cave is the result of erosion, while the Szõlõ-hegyi Caves were formed by collapse.The Betyár Cave in Szentkút has undergone a complex development. Erosion, dissolution and rock fragmentation have all played part in the formation of this cave.

In several non-karstic caves in the Cserhát Mountains (Betyár Cave, Függõ-kõi Cave and Pappenheim Cave) paleontological excavations were carried out. As a result of these excavations 35 species of molluscs and 100 species of vertebrates have been found from the Würm to the Holocene periods.

The following caves are longer than 10 m in the Cserát Mountains:

1.

Betyár Cave

Carbonateous sandstone

Mátraverebély

61,7

/±6 m

2.

Remete Caves

Sandy, clayey marl

Mátraverebély

32,7

/+2 m

3.

Felsõpetényi Cave

Quartziferous sandstone

Felsõpetény

30

/+28 m

4.

"Kõlyuk"

Sandstone

Kishartyán

22

/+2 m

5.

Erdõkürti Andesitecave

Andesite agglomerate

Erdõkürt

21

/-2 m

6.

Pappenheim Cave

Sandstone

Buják

11,5

/+2,5 m

The total length of the non-karstic caves is 207 m and the lengthof the artificial caves is 33 m.

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