Commune: Ciężkowice (pow. tarnowski, woj. małopolskie)

Framework element or context represented:
Rocky landscape, weathering process, stratigraphy and sedimentology of Ciężkowice Sandstone formation.

Primary geological/geomorphological interest:
Sandstone tors, weathering forms, type locality of Ciężkowice Sandstones, typical sedimentary structures of fluxoturbidites.

Comparative assessment justification:
Ciężkowice Sandstones is very characteristic formation in the Polish Outher Carpathians generate numerous tors. The area present a natural, classic outcrops of fluxoturbidite sedimentation. The outher big stone town is situated near Krosno (Prządki Nature Reserve).

Protection status and accessibility:
The Stone Town near Ciężkowice is protected since 1931, the act of the nature reserve is renovated at 1974.

Character of site: Sandstone tors.

Area: 15.01 ha

Altitude: 255-355 m a.s.l.

Lithology: sandstones

Discipline: Geomorphology, Stratigraphy of Phanerozoic

Process Age: *all periods

Bedrock Age: Paleogene, *all periods

Description of primary interest:
At the beginning of the 1920s, the Ciężkowice sandstones were distinguished in lithostratigraphy of the Carpathian flysch, basing on the outcrops from Ciężkowice surroundings. Now, it is well studied and its best outcrops are in the Skamieniałe Miasto (Stone Town) Nature Reserve in Ciężkowice. Considering the reasons, mentioned above, the reserve area could be recognised as the Lower Eocene stratotype of Ciężkowice sandstones of the Silesian Unit. A scenic, large group of sandstone tors has been protected as the first one in Polish Carpathians. The shape of tors has been found to depend on the lithology and lamination of sandstones, the direction of joint as well as on their position with respect to the morphological elements. The differentiated bedding of deposits, domination of coarse-grained material and traces of submarine erosion characterise fluxoturbidites accumulated by high-density turbidite current and debris flows. Features of these sediments are particularly well visible on tors’ walls subjected to selective weathering. The area is a classic study site and has high didactic value especially, for demonstrating rock relief, sedimentary structures typical of fluxoturbidites, and geological setting of tors in the zone of Ciężkowice sandstones as well as lithostratigraphic position in the deposit succession of the Silesian Unit.


ALEXANDROWICZ Z. 1970–Sandstone rocks in the vicinity of Ciężkowice on the Biała river (English sum.). Ochr. Przyr. 35: 281-235.     ALEXANDROWICZ Z. 1978–Sandstone tors of the Western Flysch Carpathians (English sum.). Pr. Geol. Kom. Nauk Geol. PAN, Oddz. w Krakowie 113.     ALEXANDROWICZ Z., BRZEŹNIAK E. 1989–Dependences of weathering processes on surface of sandstone rocks as result of thermo-humidity changes in the Flysh Carpathians (English sum.). Fol. Geogr., ser. Geogr.-Phys., 21: 17-36.     ALEXANDROWICZ Z., POPRAWA D., RĄCZKOWSKI W. 1999–Stratotypes and other important geosites of the Polish Carpathians. Pol. Geol. Inst. Special Papers 2: 33-46.     GRZYBOWSKI J. 1921–Grès de Ciężkowice (French sum.). Kosmos 46: 222-226.     KOSZARSKI L. 1956–Observations on the sedimentation of the Ciężkowice Sandstone near Ciężkowice (Carpathian Flysch). Bull. Acad. Pol. Sci. Cl. 3: 393-398.     LESZCZYŃSKI S. 1981–Ciężkowice Sandstones of the Silesian Unit in the Polish Carpathians: a study of coarsic-clastic sedimentation in deep water. Ann. Soc. Geol. Pol. 51: 435-502.     LESZCZYŃSKI S. 1989–Characteristic and orgin of fluxoturbidites from the Carpathian flysch. Ann. Soc. Geol. Pol. 59: 351-390.     ZERNDT J. 1924–Petrographische studien über Karpathen - Sandsteine der Umgegend von Ciężkowice - südlich Tarnów (German sum.). Bull. Acad. Pol. A: 195-218.