UIS Commission on Karst Hydrogeology and Speleogenesis
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Karstbase Bibliography Database

Stefaniak, Krzysztof; Tyc, Andrzej; Socha, Paweł
Karst of the czestochowa upland and of the eastern sudetes : palaeoenvironments and protection
Sosnowiec - Wrocław


Karst phenomena consist mainly in dissolving of rock by water, with subsequent formation of underground voids. Studies on karst and caves are of extremely nterdisciplinary character; they are within the scope of interest of all the disciplines of earth sciences. Since caves provide permanent habitats or temporary shelter to many organisms including Palaeolithic man, they are of interest to biologists and archaeologists.

Because of its glacial history and geological structure, southern Poland offers a good opportunity to study all the karst-related phenomena. It holds two main, geographically remote karst areas of much different landscape: the Kraków- Częstochowa Upland and the Eastern Sudetes. Their caves are filled with sediments which document various phases of karst development in Poland, including Pleistocene glaciations, as well as changes in palaeoenvironments and faunal evolution. Many contain traces of occupancy by Palaeolithic man; the archaeological record found in some of them extends to modern times. The special significance of caves and karst areas – often the only places where traces of fossil environments and human occupancy are preserved – in Poland was recognised more than 150 years ago. Modern speleological studies in karst areas of Poland started in the 1940s with the wide ranging research of Kazimierz Kowalski - the inventory of caves and review of earlier studies (Kowalski K. 1951 & 1954 – Jaskinie Polski, Vol. 1-3). They triggered comprehensive and interdisciplinary cave studies by representatives of various disciplines. Much progress was made during the last twenty years. Numerous new caves were explored and studied with modern methods; cave sediments containing numerous faunal remains and artifacts were discovered, and earlier information on environmental changes and history of human occupancy could be verified. Despite the long-term and extensive research and exploration, either the studies in the Kraków-Częstochowa Upland nor those in the Eastern Sudetes were ever summarised. The data, though abundant, are scattered among many sources, mostly associated with particular scientific disciplines. This volume is an attempt at a comprehensive summary of the information on karst and karst-related phenomena in these two regions.

Since the 1950s many scientists have contributed enormously to the knowledge of various aspects of karst-related phenomena in Poland. Some of these pioneers of interdisciplinary karst studies have departed recently: Waldemar Chmielewski (archaeologist), Jerzy Głazek (geologist, speleologist), Kazimierz Kowalski (pa-laeontologist, speleologist), Stefan Kozłowski (geologist), Marian Pulina (geomorphologist, speleologist) and Teresa Wiszniowska (palaeontologist, speleologist). Thanks to their great passion and commitment, the interest in caves and karst of the Kraków-Częstochowa-Upland and Eastern Sudetes in the last fifty years has considerably increased.

karst; caves; Czestochowa Upland; Eastern Sudetes; Poland