Commune: Piekoszów (pow. kielecki, woj. świętokrzyskie)

Framework element or context represented:
Devonian limestones of the Paleozoic core of the Świętokrzyskie (Holy Cross) Mts, Kielce subregion overlain by the Triassic; Permian-Triassic and Cenozoic paleokarst.

Primary geological/geomorphological interest:
Variscan tectonic discordance, Permian-Triassic and Cenozoic paleo- and relict karst forms.

Comparative assessment justification:
The site represents: 1) outcrop of post-Variscan unconformity in Poland; 2) the most illustrative sequence of karst generations since the Devonian to Quaternary, useful for interregional studies; 3) the longest cave system in Poland out of the Tatra Mts; 4) site of unique calcite aggregates occurrence.

Protection status and accessibility:
Nature reserve “Chelosiowa Jama” (since 1997), well accessible, located near the road Warszawa-Kraków in the village.

Character of site: Caves, abandoned quarry.

Area: 26.83 ha

Altitude: 254-310 m a.s.l.

Lithology: limestones

Discipline: Palaeobiology, Geomorphology, Palaeoenvironment, Stratigraphy of Phanerozoic, Tectonics

Process Age: Pleistocene, Devonian, *all periods

Bedrock Age: Neogene, Paleogene, Triassic, Permian, Devonian, *all periods

Description of primary interest:
The site represents hill formed of the Devonian limestones with caves. The Devonian limestones are overlain by Lower Triassic clastics – the Variscan unconformity between the Devonian and Triassic is exposed in the old quarry. Diversity of facies of the Triassic sediments (outcropped in the quarry and caves) enables reconstruction of paleorelief, morphologic and tectonic processes during the Early Triassic. Several paleo- and relict karst generations were recognized here: a) Devonian paleosols formed in freshly deposited limestones emerged during tectonically induced events of stopped subsidence of marginal part of Moravia-Małopolska platform; b) underground forms of Permian, hydrothermal karst, filled with aggregates of large calcite crystals and fine-crystalline limestones; c) network of Late Permian-Early Triassic small paleokarst conduits filled with sandy limestones and large horizontal channels filled with sequence of sandy limestone, calcareous sandstone and conglomerate; the last forms are supposed to develop in sea-fresh water mixing zone related to marine ingression; d) Early Triassic surface and subsurface deundational karst forms preceding the Buntsandstein sedimentation; e) maze system of Cenozoic karst passages and chambers of Chelosiowa Jama-Jaskinia Jaworznicka cave (3670m, one of the longest cave in Poland), Jaskinia Pajęcza cave (980 m) and some other ones. The karst system formed in Neogene was restored several times, what is documented by several generations of speleothems. Unique calcite aggregates formed due to water freezing during last Pleistocene glacial (Vistulian, Würm) occur in the cave.


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