The research on mineral deposits and the exploration of new vast resources made exceptional progress worldwide during the last decades. At the same time, mining activity has shifted from the historical European centres to other continents. Even though the mineral pro duction of the Alpine province has lost its significance as compared with other areas of the world in this century, striking ideas and theo ries on the formation of mineral deposits originating from this domain have stimulated lively international discussion. This may be explained by the proximity of different peoples with varying geographical and intellectual backgrounds meeting in the Alpine region. Realizing this development some Italian colleagues, above all Remo Albertini and Guiliano Perna, initiated the (first) International Sym posium on Mineral Deposits of the Alps in 1966. When I. ISMIDA won favorable attention, it was resolved to call further meetings at regular intervals. A different Alpine country was host and organizer each time. As a first summary of the historical development, we give a short record of previous meetings: I. ISMIDA Sept. 11-18,1966, held at Passo della Mendola/Italy II. ISM IDA Oct. 4-6, 1971,heldatBled/Yugoslavia III. ISMIDA Oct. 3-7, 1977, held at Leoben/ Austria IV. ISMIDA Oct. 5-10,1981, held at Berchtesgaden/Bavaria, FRG The present volume contains the greater number of papers pre sented at the Fourth International Symposium on Mineral Deposits of the Alps, held at Berchtesgaden (Bavaria), Federal Republic of Ger many, in 1981.
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