Commune: Zakopane (pow. tatrzański, woj. małopolskie) , Biały Dunajec (pow. tatrzański, woj. małopolskie) , Bukowina Tatrzańska (pow. tatrzański, woj. małopolskie) , Kościelisko (pow. tatrzański, woj. małopolskie) , Poronin (pow. tatrzański, woj. małopolskie)

Framework element or context represented:
The geological structures of the Tatra alpine chain.

Primary geological/geomorphological interest:
Variscan crystalline massif, units of alpine nappes, Triassic-Cretaceous sequences, postglacial relief, system of caves.

Comparative assessment justification:
The most representative case of Inner (Central) Carpathians chain, spread in Slovakia and Poland. Geological formations and structures are comparable to related ones which in outer chains of Inner (Central) Carpathians.

Protection status and accessibility:
The Tatra Natonal Park (1939, 1954); numerous touristic trails, nature museum in Zakopane. International UNESCO MAB Biosphere Reserve (1992) including Polish and Slovakia national parks.

Character of site: Mountains of alpine type.

Area: 21 164 ha

Altitude: 790-2499 m a.s.l.

Lithology: granitoids, tills, gneisses, other metamorphic rocks, sandstones, conglomerates, breccias, other siliceous rocks, limestones, dolostones

Discipline: Palaeobiology, Stratigraphy of Phanerozoic, Tectonics

Process Age: Quaternary, *all periods

Bedrock Age: Permian, Carboniferous, Devonian, Silurian, Ordovician, Cambrian, Proterozoic, *all periods

Description of primary interest:
The central element of the Tatras is the crystalline massif consisting of a granite Variscan intrusion and its metamorphic mantle (i.a. biotite gneisses, mica schists, chloritic schists and amphibolites). Nappes consisted of Mesozoic formations are thrusted over the massif from the south to the north. The High-Tatric Nappe in the core of its folds has crystalline rocks and its sedimentary part starts with deposits of the Permian-Lower Triassic age. Younger deposits of the Triassic and Jurassic developed as organogenic limestones and dolomites with shale and sandstone inserts. The Sub-Tatric nappes were thrust over the High-Tatric Nappe. Dolomites, radiolarites and radiolarite limestones are characteristic of the Sub-Tatric Nappe. A mountain massif uplifted in the Upper Cretaceous was then strongly eroded and a part of the sedimentary covered had been wasted. On the northern slopes of the mountains occur locally conglomerates and nummulite limestones related to a sea transgression in the Middle Eocene. Relief of particular parts of the Tatras shows marked differences controlled by geologic structures. In the Quaternary the relief was significantly modified by glaciations and periglacial climate. An extensive and deep system of karst caves developed in limestone rocks. The bigest Polish caves occur in the Tatras. Number one is "Wielka Śnieżna" (Big Snow) Cave reaching to 824 m deep and 22 km long.


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