Alpine Foreland (Alpine foothills, Alpenvorland), alt. 300-500 m: 260 km long flatland and hilly area between 10-50 km wide in Austria, getting narrower in the east between the northern edge of the Alps and the Bohemian massif. Stretches from the lower Salzach valley to Tullnerfeld Plain and covers parts of the provinces of Salzburg, Upper Austria and Lower Austria. Geologically, the Alpine Foreland is a peripheral sea trough of the Alps ( Molasse Zone) where huge sediments of clay ("Schlier", a slate-like, blue-grey stone type), sand and scree were deposited up to 5000 m in the Tertiary period. The Rivers Inn, Traun, Enns, Ybbs, Erlauf and Traisen flow through this plain, which gradually drops off to the north, and so-called "gravel plates" extend between these rivers; the largest "plate" is the Traun-Enns-Platte. Along the rivers, terraces formed in the Ice Age. The highest elevations are in the Hausruck mountains (Goebelsberg, 804 m) and in the Kobernausserwald hills (752 m). The Alpine Foreland is predominantly made up of fertile farmland and pastures, home of the "Koerndlbauern" and "Mostbauern" (grain farmers and makers of apple and pear cider); because of the availability of water power and mineral resources in the nearby Alps, many industrial businesses were established in the Alpine Foreland, for instance in the areas of St. Poelten, Poechlarn, Ybbs, Amstetten, Steyr, Linz, Stadl-Paura, Lenzing and Ranshofen. Schallerbach and Bad Hall are health resorts, natural gas is exploited near Wels, oil is exploited near Ried im Innkreis, and brown coal in the Hausruck mountain (the Salzachtal and Hausruck mines were closed only recently). Grouped settlements are predominant east of the Pielach, and to the west there are mainly dispersed settlements with Vierkanthoefe in the Traunviertel region and Vierseithoefen (types of Austrian farmhouses) in the Innviertel region. Several Lower Austrian towns and most Upper Austrian towns are in the Alpine Foreland.
Further reading#L.-W. Hrdina, Die Wirtschaft des westlichen Alpenvorl. Oberoesterr., doctoral thesis, Vienna 1966; R. Litschel, Zwischen Hausruck und Enns, 1970; H. Traindl, Hydrologie der Kalkvoralpen im Raum Waidhofen/Ybbs - Weyer, doctoral thesis, Vienna 1982.