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Deep drilling in Goisern

The year 1868 marked a turning point in the development of Austrian salt mines.

The kk Ministry of Finance had decided, on the occasion of the 1868 by Mr. Bergrat Dr. Mojsisovics carried out geological investigation of the alpine salt deposits to explore their depth.


Bergrat Edmund von Mojsisovics, 1886, Wikipedia

For this reason, exploratory shafts were sunk in the respective centers of the three salt mines Ischl, Aussee and Hallstatt. At the Ischler Salzberg this was the Dunajewski shaft, which was struck at the end of 1868 in the western pit field of what was then the deepest horizon, the Leopold horizon.

At the same time, it was decided, almost 4,000 m from the Dunajewski shaft, near the bottom of the Goisern valley, to drill an exploratory borehole above ground. The purpose of the borehole near Goisern was to find out whether the Aussee and Ischl salt deposits were connected in depth, and if this was the case, whether the richness had increased at this geologically deep point and whether rock salt was present.


Geological cross-section of the salt deposits and location of the borehole, Aigner, 1892

Determination of the drilling point in Goisern:

The area north of Goisern seemed to offer the most chances of solving this question. The indications of salt-bearing layers appearing in several places, possibly formed by leaching of Haselgebirge clay in connection with gypsum, as well as salt springs occurring below the "Eternal Wall" suggested that undestroyed salt deposits could be present in the depths.

When choosing the drilling point, the non-saline limestone and dolomite layers near the valley had to be avoided. Another criterion was the presence of undisturbed Zlambach marl as the overlying strata of the salt deposit, no steeply sloping terrain, easy accessibility and a protected location for the drilling point to be selected.

In the spring of 1871, a commission consisting of kk Montanofficials went to the spot to definitively determine the drilling point. Mr. Bergrat v. Mojsisovics belonged. From the six originally projected points, the one on the so-called “Perzel – Ditch”, on the slope of the Predigstuhl, was selected as the one that best corresponded to the stated conditions.

The drilling point selected was on a mighty moraine 30 m above the floor of the Traun valley at 530 m above sea level in the Poserngraben at the foot of the Eternal Wall north of Goisern.

ischler salzberg_riss_nivellement leopol

Leveling from the Leopold tunnel in Ischl to the borehole near Goisern, 1876 Bad Ischl salt mine archive

Drilling method:

According to the state of drilling technology at that time, the method of free-fall impact drilling without flushing with manual operation was selected.

With this drilling method, the impact energy was applied to the drill bit via a strong, two-armed lever, the "drill handle", which could be moved manually or, later, with a steam engine. The drill pipe was attached to the drill handle via a head piece and was thus able to accommodate its up and down movements.


Next came an adjusting screw up to 2 m long, with the help of which the drill rods were slowly lowered as drilling progressed. When the set screw was fully extended, a new pushrod tube could be inserted.

The so-called "crumb" was attached below the adjusting screw. This consisted of two lever arms offset by 180°, with which the drill rods could be rotated manually and the necessary rotational movement transferred to the drill bit.

The upper linkage that followed, assembled from the individual linkage tubes, led to the intermediate linkage in which the free-fall instrument was installed. The free-fall instrument installed between the upper and lower rods had the function of releasing the connection between the two and allowing the lower rods, consisting of the impact weight ("drill block") and the drill bit, to fall freely to the bottom of the borehole resulting impacts on the drill rods, which would have led to rod breaks, are avoided.

Among the numerous constructions of free-fall instruments, that according to Fabian was the most widespread. Two diagonally arranged slots (h) were installed in the sleeve of this instrument, which were widened at the top to form a seat for a safety wedge (f). The latter was attached to the air-termination rod, which was guided in the sleeve and carried the impact weight and the drill bit. The slip slipped itself through a bevel at the upper end of the slot over the slip seat when the sleeve in its lowest position hit the impact weight that was standing on the bottom of the borehole after it was dropped. As a result, the lower linkage was raised again during the subsequent lifting movement. The jettisoning at the upper lifting limit was effected by a sharp tug of the operator on the above-ground linkage.

Schematic of a free-fall percussion drilling, Stein, 1913


The lower linkage, which fell freely through the free-fall instrument during the drilling process, consisted of the impact weight and the drill bit.

The correspondingly heavy impact weight not only served to transfer the necessary impact energy to the drill bit in free fall; it was also provided with guide devices at the upper end in order to be able to drill as straight a borehole as possible.

Finally, the drill bit was installed at the bottom of the borehole, which broke up the rock. Since there was no drilling flushing with water, the cuttings (“drilling waste”) produced when drilling the drill bit had to be regularly removed manually with the help of a bucket, which could be moved using its own bucket winch.

Unfortunately no photos of the Goiserer deep drilling could be found in the accessible archives. The two following illustrations show the state of deep drilling technology at that time quite well.

Fabian free fall instrument, Stein, 1913


Free-fall drilling with steam drive, Stein, 1913


Free-fall drilling with steam operation, Schallerbach, 1917, Internet

Start of drilling work:

Drilling work began in August 1871 with the sinking of the drill shaft. However, this could not reach the desired depth because of the water flowing in at a depth of 6.3 m. Despite the use of powerful hand pumps, sinking had to be stopped at 11.4 m. Only the anchors for the later pipe jacking apparatus were installed and the shaft collapsed again down to the water level.


Drill shaft with drill rods and pipe jacking apparatus, Balzberg, 1878


The derrick had a total height of 22.6 m. The side length of the rectangular tower was 8.65 m. The 0.4 x 0.4 m thick tower wreath lay on a foundation made of quarry stone, on which the four 31 x 31 cm thick towers rested tower pillars were mortised.

Inside the tower there were 3 stages. The top platform, the catch platform (a), was 16 m above the bottom of the hut. It was used to hang up and lower the linkage. There was the suspension rake (b) with the 3 m long suspension rod, on which the suspension forks were attached so that they could be easily moved. Each of these forks could accommodate 3 rods of 17.3 m length each. To make it easier to move the forks, which were loaded with a weight of up to 250 kg, small wooden corrugated beams were attached on both sides perpendicular to the direction of the suspension rods, which were equipped with a rope and hooks for pulling the forks. Above the landing platform, 19 m above the bottom of the hut, the chain roller was attached to a strong beam frame.

The middle platform (c), 11 m above the bottom of the hut, was primarily used for manipulation with the spoon rope pulley.

The lowest stage (d), 5.65 m above the hut floor, carried a small rod rake, which was used to hang up interchangeable pieces and other drilling equipment.

The remaining part of the drill hut contained the drill handle (e) with rebound spring (f) on one side, the spoon cable winch (g) and the chain reel (h) as well as the drill room and a worker's kitchen on the opposite side.


: Derrick, complete system, Balzberg, 1878


The drill handle (e) consisted of a 7.7 m long, 40 x 30 cm thick beam, which was completely sufficient and which was later used for the same purpose in steam drilling. To adjust the stroke, the pivot point of the lever (e) could be moved. At one end of the handle was the "Drückel" with a length of 5.7 m, on both sides of which 12 men could attack.

The rebound spring (f) consisted of a 9 m long, 25 x 30 cm thick beam, which was anchored outside the derrick, at the other end the play of the rebound spring was limited by a block placed underneath. The workers stood on a somewhat springy platform, which increased the momentum when the pendulum was knocked down. A mechanical stroke counter was used to record the number of strokes.


Pumpjack, Balzberg, 1878

drilling winches:

The spoon rope winch (g) consisted of a cast-iron drum with a wooden covering and a diameter of 1 m, to which a band brake was attached. The countershaft was disengageable at a ratio of 1:8 and fitted with two cranks set at 120°.

The chain winch (h) consisted of a hollow cast-iron drum 1.53 m long and 36.9 cm in diameter. Two band brake discs with a diameter of 0.94 m were wedged on both sides of the shaft of this drum. In addition, the chain winch was equipped with outriggers in a ratio of 1:2 and 1:6 and from a depth of 160 m in a ratio of 1:12. The two cranks, which were also set at 120°, were 42 cm long and 6 men could attack each of them.

The chain was an English Navy chain with cast links. Its length was 45 m, the thickness of the iron chain was 22 mm. To balance the weight of this heavy chain, which weighed 448 kg, a lead weight of 280 kg had to be attached to the end hanging above the drill hole in order to prevent it from flipping over the chain roller when it was at its highest point.

Both the bucket and the chain winch were mounted on a wooden framework half of which was embedded in the ground and weighed down with quarry stones.


Spoon winch and chain winch, Balzberg, 1878

upper linkage:

The linkage consisted of tubes each 17.3 m long. These had a cross-section of 6.25 cm² and a weight of 5.96 kg per meter. The pipe connections ("rod locks") had conical screw connections in order to always be able to achieve a firm, uniform connection.


Drill pipe with sleeve, Stein, 1913

Intermediate linkage:

A Fabian free-fall instrument was installed in the intermediate linkage in order to be able to separate the drilling tool from the upper linkage when it fell down.

lower linkage:

The impact weight (“drill block”) and the drill bit were positioned in the lower linkage.

The impact energy on the drill bit was applied by the free falling 308 kg drill block. Its cross-section increased downwards in order to be able to drill a vertical borehole by placing the center of gravity as low as possible. The drill block was connected to the drill bit on the one hand and to the free-fall instrument on the other by means of wedge locks. The drill block was as heavy and long as possible in order to be able to produce a vertical borehole even in heavily inclined strata. Additional gauges were attached to the upper end of the drill block for this purpose.

Chisels with ear cutters, cross chisels also with ear cutters and, on an experimental basis, core drills were used as drills. Preference was given to using chisels with hollow blades and wide ears, as they rounded out the drill hole best and reduced the diameter least.


Flat and cross chisels. Stone, 1913

To enlarge the borehole, reamers or enlargement drills positioned a little higher on the rods were used.


Reaming or enlargement drill, Stein, 1913


The borehole had to be completely cased in the rock layers that were not stable, otherwise it would have collapsed.

The installation of the casing caused the most difficulties when sinking the borehole. The upper part of the borehole was in non-cohesive moraine gravel mixed with sandstone, which, constantly pressing on the outer tube walls, caused great friction and flattening of the tubes. When the pipes were pressed in with the help of the pipe press apparatus, non-cohesive material got stuck under the pipe shoe and thus prevented the further advance of the pipe rows. In the course of drilling, the upper part of the borehole was shifted towards the valley by the natural flow of the valley. As a result, the tubes had to be pressed through the curved borehole.

4 pieces of piping were installed in the borehole:

Anmerkung 2020-05-16 183051.jpg

The tubes were made of 4.5 mm thick Mariazell sheet iron on the first two tube tours and 4 mm thick on the last two. The tubes of the first two rows of tubes had a length of 1.26 m, those of the last 1.9 m. The tubes were connected to one another by means of an internally fitted sleeve that was 210 mm wide and 4.5 mm thick. These sleeves were hammered out at both ends so that there was no point of contact when they were pressed in.

The tube rows were installed either by simply inserting them with the chain reel or by pressing them with the tube press apparatus.

The tube press apparatus consisted of a press head weighing 504 kg. In order to be able to use the same compression head for different tubes, a cast iron bearing ring was used. This was turned inside with a small clearance according to the outer diameter of the upper tube piece. Holes were drilled at both ends of the press head for pushing through the 66 mm thick and 0.95 m long press screws.

Installation of the tube tours:

The first string of tubes was used as soon as drilling began and regularly followed the drill at a distance of 2.5 m. Bringing it down, however, required great effort. With a length of 26 m, a pressure of 9,000 kg was already required to lower the pipe, while the strength of the pipes against buckling was calculated at 10,000 kg. Therefore, a second tube row had to be installed.

Before installing the second tube row, all the unevenness of the first tube row was smoothed out. Finally, a test tube 6.3 m long was lowered and, after this passed the borehole, the installation of the second tube row began. The second string of tubing was riveted in 3 sets, two 12.6 m and one 11.4 m long over the borehole, with the already completed section being sunk into the borehole. After the completion of these tube runs, they were hung in the derrick and tested by laces.

Brittle clay slates were drilled at a depth of 150 m. After the drop at a depth of 155.7 m became so significant that the bit rose higher during drilling instead of sinking, the third tube row had to be installed.

The third string of tubing, which had been made in part from the material of the first, was now stopped in sets of 9.48 m to a depth of 150.45 m, then jacked up with simultaneous drilling to 187.75 m jacking difficult and became impossible at 189.68 m. After the bottom of the borehole was in brittle slate, this tube also had to be abandoned and the fourth round installed. The third set of tubes isolated 71.15 m of friable rock, 32.97 m more than the second tube.

Before the fourth row of tubes was made, the second tube, which had now become superfluous, was pulled out. It was still in perfectly good condition, having been downhole for over two years. In October 1874 the fourth tube run was completed and assembled in runs of 11.38 m. However, since a longer suspension of drilling work was imminent due to the installation of steam engines, it was only 189.65 m deep, that is, up to the tube shoe of the third tour, so as not to expose it prematurely to the rock pressure. The fourth tube tour was tarred inside and out while warm, partly to preserve it and partly to reduce friction when sliding down. There were no difficulties when letting in and repressing. It reached a length of 800 feet (254.92 m) and was then abandoned due to incursions of solid, gray limestone at this depth. This tube trip isolated a total of 65.24 m of friable rock. From then on, because of the stable rock, no more piping was necessary.

Course of the drilling work by hand:

After setting up the derrick and the necessary equipment and sinking the drill shaft, the actual drilling work could begin on January 19, 1872.

The moraine gravel in which the borehole was drilled required the installation and tracking of the casing right from the start.

  The assembly of the drilling tool was therefore as follows. Fabian's free-fall instrument hung on a short connecting piece, followed by the 308 kg heavy drill block including cable, then the 168 kg heavy cash on delivery drill, to which a chisel with a diameter of 39.5 cm and a weight of 124 kg was attached. It was therefore worked with an impact weight of 600 kg with a stroke of 50 cm.

At first, the fact that the rubble stuck firmly to the tube line, shifted the drill hole and had to be attacked again and again with extended cash on delivery cutters was very disruptive and time-consuming. If the drill bit already had difficulties to overcome, this was the case to a much greater extent when the cash on delivery drill attacked alone, the cutting edges were worn out very quickly. It was therefore a long-awaited event when the bedrock was reached at a depth of 64.348 m.

After the solid rock had stopped for a long time, the COD drill was put down on November 21, 1872 at a borehole depth of 66.04 m, and drilling continued with just one chisel, i.e. a borehole diameter of 31.6 cm.

In the flint-rich layers that followed, the ear cutting edges of the chisel were ground off by 12 to 20 mm with each turn, and since the drill hole diameter was maintained with the utmost rigor, the need for constant reworking arose, but two new chisels in each layer were let in. In this hard rock, the stroke was reduced to 40 cm, the impact weight was 408 kg and an output of 6 to 7 cm per hour was achieved.

After the moraine debris had been penetrated, the rock strata that were drilled through by hand showed a constant alternation of limestone and slate. The output in these shales was 12 cm per hour at a depth of 200 m.

Depending on the nature of the drill dust, the bucket was weighed down with drill rods weighing between 6 and 30 kg. In the beginning, when the borehole was still a little deep, the spoon was used in such a way that the spoon rope was gripped with a rope clamp, to which a line was attached that ran over a pulley fixed in the derrick, and at the end of which 4 men like worked on a ram. Later, the bucket was dropped only by releasing the brake on the bucket reel, lifting it higher or lower depending on the nature of the drill dust. Initially, the spoon was emptied by pushing it onto a mandrel located in the Schmant pit, but the valve seat could never be completely cleaned with sandy Bohrschmant. The spoon was therefore later overthrown and cleaned with flushing water through the valve.

Classification of drilling work:

At the beginning of the shift, the drilling tool was lowered with the chain reel, which took ½ to 2 ¼ hours, which of course was directly related to the increasing depth. 2 men handled the two band brakes, while the rest of the team always grabbed the cranks to keep the drilling tool under control. After the drilling tool was lowered and attached to the drill handle, the drilling began.

Drilling was performed at intervals (“heating”) of 30 min duration, followed by a 15 min pause. The number of "heats" before catching up depended on the penetration of the drill bit, the hardness of the rock attacking the bit, and the nature of the drill face. On average, 6 "heats" were made per shift, during which the output in medium-hard limestone was about 8 cm.

At the beginning there were 7, but soon 10 and towards the end of the drilling 12 men working on the drill press.

However, the chain reel, which required quite a bit of effort, was decisive for the number of drilling workers.

The load of the drilling tool to be lifted with the chain winch consisted of:

Anmerkung 2020-05-16 1830512.jpg

The total weight to be lifted was 600 kg. 15 strokes per minute were carried out with an average lifting height of 48 cm. A total of 12 drilling workers were required for this work.

Setting up the deep hole for steam operation:

The increase in time for the ancillary work in manual drilling and the ever-increasing wages forced a changeover from manual operation to steam operation at a borehole depth of 200 m. In addition, it was important not only to work cheaper, but also to work faster in order to give the clay slates that were then in the queue as little time as possible for their dissolution, and thus to be able to reach a greater depth with the same borehole diameter.

Cable drilling was now chosen as the drilling method, as this appeared to be more advantageous than the cumbersome rod drilling.


Steam drilling machine setup:


steam boiler:

The steam boiler (A) was an upright Locomobil boiler with a diameter of 0.84 m. The 60 copper boiler tubes were each 1.16 m long with an inside diameter of 5.26 cm. This resulted in a total heating area of 15.78 m². The grate area of the fire box was only 0.314 m². The working pressure of the steam engine was 4 atmospheres. The wood consumption was around 5 cubic meters per shift.


Steam drilling, mechanical equipment, outline, Balzberg, 1878


Steam drilling, mechanical equipment, ground plan, Balzberg, 1878


The hoisting machine (B) had 2 cylinders with Stephenson control, 190 mm cylinder diameter, 320 mm stroke, a feed pump, a pulley of 1,200 mm diameter and 200 mm width, and made 100 revolutions per minute in normal gear. It developed an output that could be increased to 13 hp, but usually operated at 10 hp. The whole machine was mounted on a cast-iron base frame, which was screwed onto a larch wood grid fixed to the foundation sills of the transmission. The 90° offset cranks eliminated the need for a flywheel, enabling the machine to perform all forward and backward movements with great precision. The entire hoisting machine was very compact and weighed only 3,136 kg.


The transmission (E) contained the tape rope spool and the bucket rope drum. The ribbon cable had a length of 350 m and consisted of 6 adjacent strands, each with a wire core, which consisted of a total of 144 wires with a diameter of 1.2 mm. It was calculated for a maximum load of 1,500 kg. The weight of this 44 mm wide, 9.5 mm thick and 350 m long rope was 599.8 kg, the running meter weight was 1.71 kg. This rope was used in double width, as it was used exclusively to advance the linkage, with 2 ribbon ropes placed next to each other being stapled together with wire. With this, a load capacity of 3,000 kg was achieved with a 6-fold safety factor. A cast steel cable served as the bucket cable.  Both wire ropes were obtained from the kk wire rope factory in Pribram.

A bobbin, which formed one piece with the ring gear and the band brake, was used to wind up the band rope. The brake disc was composed of wood. The brake band, 79mm wide and 4.4mm thick, was suspended from a spring at the top point to enable quick brake release. The brake was operated by a foot pedal.

The transmission shaft was connected between the bobbin and the spoon rope drum, which could either set the former or the latter in rotation or run idle by means of 2 disengageable gears.

The transmission ratio was selected in such a way that when the steam engine was running normally at 100 rpm, the transmission shaft 33, the spoon cable drum 16 and the bobbin performed 5.5 revolutions per minute.


The drill handle of the hand bore was adapted. To put the rods - balancing weights on its rear end, a balancing - balancer was mounted under the hut floor. The drill cylinder was used to move the handle. This drilling cylinder, a vertical steam cylinder with a diameter of 185 mm and a variable stroke of up to 800 mm, was double-acting and received the steam from the boiler through a steam pipe embedded in the floor of the hut. The controls, an ordinary shell valve control, were set up in such a way that they could be operated either manually or automatically.

After the handle formed a similar lever, a load of 870 kg could be lifted with this drilling cylinder with balanced rods and 3 ½ atmospheres of steam pressure, which was sufficient under all circumstances. The drill cylinder worked with an average power of 3 hp.

Course of the drilling work by steam operation:

After the machines had been installed, the system could be put into operation on a trial basis at the beginning of July 1875.

The first attempts with the cable drilling were started. Fauk's scissors served as a free-fall instrument. The same was first tried over days, causing the chisel to be moved very precisely. However, after the drill was lowered and drilling started, the bit was thrown off regularly but not moved. You could see the tendency to torsion on the linkage, but it didn't move. After several unsuccessful attempts, Fabian's free-fall instrument had to be used again to drill the rods.

The drilling with rods went ahead without any problems. The benefits of steam drilling became apparent in the first month, with the cost per 1 cm sinking increasing from 52 kr. to 17.3 kr. descended.

The drilling cylinder worked very quietly and evenly and almost exclusively by self-control. Only when jamming occurred due to a fall did the operator step up to the control lever of the drilling cylinder and try to achieve those short up and down movements of the drilling tool by quickly and successively reversing the course, through which the drop was ground up within a short time and the drilling tool was free again became. The double action of the cylinder facilitated these movements.

On average, 80-100 blows per 1 cm depth were required to pierce through the slate, while the limestone required 150-300, depending on hardness, and the flint required 600 blows.




Operating results of hand drilling:

Period: January 1872 – May 1874       

Total drilling time: 2,405 h                                                             

Hole Length : 201.976 m              

Total strikes : 2,053,742 strikes for 159.332 m of hole length                             

Number of workers per shift: 10 men at the beginning, from 81 m borehole depth 11 men, from 150 m 12 men

Results for drilling 1 cm : 129 blows, 7.14 min time, 37.95 kr. drill wages

Drill hole depth achieved: 201.976 m

Operational Results of Steam Drilling:

Period : July 1875 – March 1878        

Total drilling time : 3,666 h                                                            

Borehole length: 280.03 m               

Total strikes : 5,208,246 strikes for 280.03 m of hole length                             

Number of workers per shift: 4 men                                                            

Results for drilling 1 cm: 186 impacts, 7.86 min time expenditure, 32.30 kr. Drilling wages and wood consumption for steam engine.                                                          

Reached borehole depth: 482.01 m


End of deep drilling:

The drill hole drilled at 656.69 m near Goisern had come to an end at the end of March 1880, still in the solid dolomite.

The thick dolomite layer belonging to the Triassic formation had already started at a depth of 388.1 m and stopped at 656.69 m by the end of the drilling, thus reaching a greater thickness of 268.59 m.

At 624 m the dolomite reached the highest observed hardness of the entire well. In this dolomite, 243 chisel strokes were necessary to sink one centimetre. The chisel edges were either ground down flat or blasted out in a very short time.

Deep drilling results:

The goal of deep drilling in Goisern, to find salt, could not be achieved after more than 5 years of drilling. At the end of March 1880, the exploratory drilling was finally stopped.

Nevertheless, the production of this 656 m deep borehole was a technical masterpiece. At that time, only a few boreholes reached depths of more than 500 m using manual or steam drilling. The depth of the borehole was already 126 m below sea level!!!


A geological profile was created from the Schmant samples from the borehole:

0.00–64.35 m: moraine gravel, boulders bound with sand and scree                         

64.35–150.30 m: gray limestone with flint, isolated argillaceous slate [Upper Jurassic limestone]         

150.30–251.86 m: Zlambach clay slate                                                     

251.86–317.55 m: Gray to white layers of limestone                                                               at 308.7m: finding the sulfur spring in the Hallstatt limestone                                        

317.55–373.06 m: hard dark limestone with flint [Pötschenkalk]                             

373.06–413.70 m: clay slate with layers of limestone and layers of sulphurous gravel [Rein-Grabener Schiefer]

413.70–434.20 m: Limestone [Hallstätter Limestone]                                                   

434.20–440.28 m: light dolomite [Steinalmdolomit]                                          

440.28–656.99 m: dark gray dolomite, from 588 m very hard dolomite [GutensteinerDolomit]


Sulfur Source:

In January 1876, at a depth of 308 m, a sulfur spring was found that contained a high content of hydrogen sulfide and allegedly also carbon dioxide (CO2). A year later, at a borehole depth of 402 m, a new source was approached with a sudden increase in water temperature. At a drilling depth of 574.7 m, the sulfur water inflow reached its maximum with about 5 l/s discharge and a temperature of 20 °C. The discharge then quickly returned to a constant value of 3 l/s. From 1878 to 1971 the yield of the spring decreased to 1 l/s, at the same time the mineralization of the water decreased.

Since there is the possibility of a geological connection between the Goisern sulfur spring and the sulfur springs in the Lauffener Erbstollen of the Ischler Salzberg, the strong decline in the discharge of the Goiserer borehole source after 1895 could be due to the 1898/99 blasting of sources I and II in the Erbstollen and the second A significant decline after 1928 can be attributed to the crushing of Source III in Nusko - the addition of the Lauffener Erbstollen in 1950. However, the drop in discharge could also have occurred because the borehole is currently only open to a depth of 378 m, so that the inflows that were deeper at the time, at 402 m and 574.7 m, are now partially or completely absent.

After the drilling work was stopped in the summer of 1880, the imperial Ministry of Finance ensured that the sulfur spring drilled should be freed from the inflowing surface water and should come to light as unadulterated as possible. For this purpose, insulating cast iron closure tubes with an internal diameter of 100 mm were sunk to a depth of 198.7 m. In addition, the space between the old tin tubes and the cast-iron insulation tubes was completely and tightly filled with concrete.

After completion of the spring tapping work, the spring was named "Marie Valerie - Spring" after the eldest daughter of Emperor Franz Josef.

The sulfur spring containing iodine and bromine emerged from the borehole at a temperature of a good 20 degrees and at a flow rate of 6,000 l/h and initially flowed unused into the Krössenbach.

Patients from near and far quickly became aware of the healing effects of the water. In the vernacular, the spring was called "Perzlwasser" and was successfully used by many sufferers for drinking cures and baths for rheumatism and skin rashes. People from further afield also fetched this healing water in bottles, jugs and barrels.

Especially the Goiserer salt works doctor Dr. Julius Löcker tried to use the sulfur spring for general purposes. Under his initiative, several members of the Goiserer Beautification Association founded a healing spring association in 1883. He leased the spring and a piece of land from Ärar to build a bathing establishment, which opened on August 15, 1884. Shares with a nominal value of 20 guilders were issued to finance the same.

Data on deep drilling from 1872 to 1874, Archive Salinen Austria


Although the Goiserer Heilquelle was named after Archduchess Marie Valerie, the namesake was only represented by a lady-in-waiting at the opening of the new bathing establishment, which took place in pouring rain.

Already in the first bathing season in 1885, 493 spa guests could be treated in Goisern. An enlargement of the iodine-sulphur bath was urgently needed, but the necessary financial means were lacking. A new issue of 250 shares at a nominal value of 20 guilders did not find the desired buyers. Despite the success of the cure, the association of mineral springs, which had leased the iodine-sulphur spring from the Imperial and Royal Forestry Administration for a period of 40 years, had to prematurely terminate the lease in 1888 due to a lack of capital. The forest administration replaced the building from the Heilquellenverein, continued to operate the bathing facilities on its own and in 1895 rebuilt and enlarged the bathing building. From then on it was managed with the help of private tenants, who were also innkeepers.

According to records, 10 years after the baths opened, 2,000 spa guests were already staying in Goisern.

: dr Löcker "Sulphur spring to Goisern", archive Salinen Austria


Valerie Bad and Badehotel, 1906, ÖNB archive

In 1931 Goisern was officially named a "spa and climatic health resort".

A spa hotel was built in 1951-1953 in place of the bathing establishment built in 1884. 


Kurhotel Jodschwefelbad, Bad Goisern, around 1960, Internet

The latest analyzes of the Bad Goisern healing spring have shown that the sodium-chloride-hydrogen-carbonate-sulphur spring also contains significant fluorides and the healing spring can therefore be named "Bad Goisern fluoride-sulphur spring". The water temperature at the spring outlet today is 18.7° C The discharge is on average 0.96 l/s. The concentration of value-determining ingredients is 2.4 mg/l bivalent sulfur and the total of dissolved substances is 670.8 mg/l.

The approved indications for sulfur therapy are chronic muscle and joint diseases due to rheumatic or non-rheumatic causes and the treatment of skin diseases such as psoriasis or neurodermatitis.

After a construction period of around 18 months, a new spa center was opened on September 19, 2014. The new sulfur spa was equipped with 150 four-star rooms. On average, 67,000 overnight stays from health tourism are counted in Bad Goisern today.

A late success for the originally unsuccessful exploratory drilling!


Kurzentrum Vivea 4*, Bad Goisern, internet

Sources used:

Carl Balzberg "Die Tiefbohr in Goisern", yearbook of miners and smelters, Vienna 1878

Carl Balzberg "Die Tiefbohr in Goisern", yearbook of miners and smelters, Vienna 1880

Various media reports on the opening of the spa center, Internet, 2014

Julius Löcker "The Sulfur Spring at Goisern in the Salzkammergut", Vienna 1884

G. Mandl "Geological Map of Austria - Explanations Sheet 96 Bad Ischl, GBA, Vienna 2012

Market town of Bad Goisern "Heimat Goisern", Heimatbuch, Bad Goisern 1990

Othmar Schauberger "Historical mining in the Salzkammergut", communications from the Austrian consortium for prehistory and early history, vol. 24, Vienna 1973

Othmar Schauberger "The mineral and thermal springs in the area of the East Alpine Salinar between Salzach and Enns", Linz 1979

Walter Medwenitsch "The geology of the salt deposits Bad Ischl and Altaussee", communications from the Geological Society, 50th vol. 1957, Vienna 1957

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