The South German Escarpments extent over most of southern Germany, from the Main River to the southern rim of the Swabian Jura (Schwäbische Alb) Rhine graben to the eastern rim of the Frankian Jura (Fränkische Alb). The geological structure of this area produced a number of successive escarments.
In southern Germany, nearly horizontal layers of sediments with a slope of only 3° cover the whole area. All harder layers of a certain thickness form escarpents, with the steep side looking to the north and northeast. As the slope is very low, the escarments look like cliffs, but a view on a map, especially a geologic map, shows that they really are escarpments.
Here is a list of the most important hard layers, and the geographic name of the corresponding plateau:
The escarments started to form in Cretaceous times, and since then the weathering and erosion keeps them moving. The rim of the Swabian Jura moves to the south, the rim of the Frankian Jura to the South East. They started as cliffs, but tectonic movements in the pliocene, caused by the formation of the Alps, made them escarpments.
The movement of the rim is proven by so called Zeugenberge (witness mountains). This are mountains, which once were part of the plateau, but they "survived" the weathering because of geographical and geological resons. Famous "Zeugenberge" are
Only a few of the escarpments consist of limestone, but those are karstified. This are