Commune: Skała (pow. krakowski, woj. małopolskie)

Framework element or context represented:
Landscape of the rocky valley in the Polish Jura Chain.

Primary geological/geomorphological interest:
A deep rocky valley with karst phenomena.

Comparative assessment justification:
The best example of rocky valley with karst phenomena. It is typical of the Cracow - Częstochowa Jura Chain; the next is in the Frankonian Jura. An unique landform of rocky valley in the Polish Jura.

Protection status and accessibility:
The most interesting part of the valley is protected in the Ojców National Park (2146 ha). It was used as a health resort and now it is a tourist, scientific and educational center. The area is proposed as a part of the Jurassic Geopark.

Character of site: River valley.

Area: 2146 ha

Altitude: 300 - 440 m a.s.l.

Lithology: limestones, sands, clays, silts, clays

Discipline: Geomorphology, Stratigraphy of Quaternary, Stratigraphy of Phanerozoic

Process Age: Quaternary, *all periods

Bedrock Age: Paleogene, Jurassic, *all periods

Description of primary interest:
The valley dissects the eastern part of the Ojców Plateau forming a deep and narrow rocky gorge. It is surrounded by many rocky walls and tors raising up to 100 m. Rocky scenery is formed of Upper Jurassic massive limestones concerning fossils. System of joints is well developed, particular segments of the valley and its tributaries follow the main directions of fissures. Karst phenomena represented by enlarged fissures, microrelief and many caves are important morphogenetic factors. About 200 caves are known here, tourists are allowed to visit a few of them. Cave deposits studied in the Sąspówka valley stream are composed with two sets of layers. The lower one presented aqueous sediments (clay and sand) of last or a earlier interglacial and upper one limestone debris with loam connected with Upper Pleistocene processes in dry caves. Fragments of rocky terraces are marked on both banks of the valley. The outcrop of Holocene travertine and calcareous tufa abounding in shells of molluscs is situated on the right bank of the Sąspówka stream, the main tributary of the Prądnik river. The Holocene terrace with the sequence of peaty loam, calcareous sediments and muds fill the bottom of the valley. The area in question is rich in springs draining the deep groundwater level. The Prądnik River Valley is the longest and deepest one in the Cracow Upland. It has a typical karst landscape with beautiful scenery.


ALEXANDROWICZ S.W. 1997–Malacofauna of Holocene sediments of the Prądnik and Rudawa River Valleys (Southern Poland). Fol. Quaternaria, 68: 133-188.     ALEXANDROWICZ S.W., ALEXANDROWICZ Z. 2003–Pattern of karst landscape of the Cracow Upland. Acta Carsologica 32, 1: 39-56.     ALEXANDROWICZ S.W. & WILK Z. 1962–Geologic structure and springs of the Prądnik river valley in the Ojców National Park (English sum.). Ochr. Przyr., 28: 187-210.     DRZAŁ M. 1954–Morphology of the Prądnik river basin (English sum.). Ochr. Przyr., 22: 42-66.     GRADZIŃSKI R., SZELEREWICZ M. 2004–Caves in the Kraków-Wieluń Upland - numbers and distribution (English sum.). In: J. Partyka (ed) The diversification and transformation of natural and cultural environment of the Kraków-Częstochowa Upland, vol 1. Nature: 69-82. Ojców N.P.     JĘDRYS J., GRABOWSKA T., KRAJEWSKI M., MATYSZKIEWICZ J., ŻABA J. 2004–Structural pattern of Upper Jurassic carbonate buildups in the Kraków-Wieluń Upland in relation to the magnetic data (English sum.). Ibidem: 19-26.     MATYJA B.A., WIERZBOWSKI A. 2004–Stratigraphy and facies development in the Upper Jurassic of the Kraków-Częstochowa Upland and the Wieluń Upland (English sum.). Ibidem: 13-18.     MADEYSKA-NIKLEWSKA T. 1969–Upper Pleistocene deposits in caves of the Cracow Upland (English sum.). Acta Geol. Polonica 19: 341-392.     MATYSZKIEWICZ J. 1997–Microfacies, sedimentation and some aspects of diagenesis of Upper Jurassic sediments from the elevated part of the Northern peri-Tethyan Shelf: a comparative study on the Lochen area (Schwäbische Alb) and the Cracow area (Cracow-Wieluń Upland, Poland). Berlin. Geowiss. Abhandl., E-21.