Commune: Trzebinia (pow. chrzanowski, woj. małopolskie)

Framework element or context represented:
Paleoenvironment of the terrestrial limestone in the Permian-Mesozoic cover of the Upper Silesian Basin.

Primary geological/geomorphological interest:
Large travertine layer within the terrestial sediments.

Comparative assessment justification:
The site represents the largest (well accessible) outcrop of the Karniowice travertine, which represents unique freshwater sediments documenting paleoenvironment and terrestial evolution of the area elevated due to Variscan movements.

Protection status and accessibility:
Well accessible.

Character of site: Abandoned quarry.

Area: 0.1 ha

Altitude: 380 m a.s.l.

Lithology: sandstones, conglomerates, breccias, other sedimentary rocks

Discipline: Palaeobiology, Palaeoenvironment, Petrography

Process Age: *all periods

Bedrock Age: Permian, *all periods

Description of primary interest:
Karniowice travertine, form several lenticular bodies (up to more than 10 m thick) in the lower part of the Permian conglomerates and volcanic tuffs, discordantly overlying the Carboniferous sandstones. Light-grey travertine is locally highly porous or cavernous. It is formed of sparry calcite containing dispersed chalcedone aggregates and impregnations of iron and copper sulfides. The travertine represents freshwater sediment precipitated from water of karst origin rising from the Devonian and Lower Carboniferous carbonates of the Dębnik paleo-elevation (formed due to Variscan movements). The travertine formed in the area of springs and its structural types were controlled by distance from springs and local environments. Structurally differentiated calcite (massive, dome-like, collumnar) is characteristic for the areas situated close to the springs, whereas in the lakes laminated travertine precipitated. The calcite laminae represent algal mats and reflect seasonal changeability of algae and conditions of precipitation. The laminar diversity and isotopic analyses suggest subtropical climate with distinct hot, dry and cold seasons as well as seven years long climatic cycle. Cavernous travertines with numerous remains (prints) of plants represent swamp deposits. In these rocks 46 taxons of plants: calamites, ferns, cordaites, ancient coniferous (28 species, among them 2 new ones) as well as gastropods (1 new species) have been described. In the eastern and central sections of the site, representing small abandoned quarry, lacustrine type of the rock – laminated travertine – crops out. In the western section of the site swamp type of travertine with remnants of calamites and cordaites in “living” positions is observed.


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