The thesis focuses on the karst morphogenesis in the Devonian limestones of the Elbingerode Complex in the central Harz Mountains in Tertiary times. Investigations about the karst relief and new results concerning Tertiary sediments in the central Harz Mountains lead to further conclusions on palaeogeography and relief development in the Harz Mountains in Cenozoic times. Based on analytical methods the age and genesis of the isolated deposits in the central Harz Mountains, which are preserved in individual palaeokarst pits and dolines, were determined by comparison with Tertiary sediments in the northern foreland. For the first time biostratigraphical and sedimentological analyses on the Tertiary deposits between Wienrode and Thale (190-220 m a.s.l.) provide evidence for coastal marine sedimentation in Rupelium times and marginal marine sedimentation with influence of terrestrial sedimentation in Chattium times in the northern foreland of the Harz Mountains. Two sedimentary deposits near Hartenberg (510 m a.s.l.) and north of Hüttenrode (475 m a.s.l.) in the central Harz Mountains are comparable deposits of the marginal marine sedimentation in Oligocene times. The position of those two deposits in the central Harz Mountains, near the divide between the catchments directly draining the northern margin of the Harz Mountains and the tributaries to the Bode river, lead to the conclusion that the most prominent high level planation surfaces in the eastern part of the Harz Mountains were in a lower position together with the northern foreland as late as the Oligocene. A flat area was developed both in the Subhercynian Basin and the eastern Harz Mountains where sedimentation and erosion processes, close to a former coastline, occurred due to alternating sea level in Oligocene times. The geomorphological situation at a comparable altitude between the prominent high level planation surfaces in the eastern part of the Harz Mountains and the northern foreland was stable for a long period after the uplift of the Harz Mountains in Upper Cretaceous times. A minor karstification of the limestones of the Elbingerode Complex occurred as late as the Upper Oligocene. The existing shallow karst in the central Harz Mountains belongs to the subaerial karstification of the limestones near the surface after the marine regression in the Upper Oligocene. With the more intensive uplift of the Harz Mountains in Pliocene and Pleistocene times a deeper karstification of the Elbingerode limestones took place due to an incising valley of the river Bode.