Commune: Karpacz (pow. jeleniogórski, woj. dolnośląskie) , Kowary (pow. jeleniogórski, woj. dolnośląskie) , Piechowice (pow. jeleniogórski, woj. dolnośląskie) , Szklarska Poręba (pow. jeleniogórski, woj. dolnośląskie) , Podgórzyn (pow. jeleniogórski, woj. dolnośląskie) , Stara Kamienica (pow. jeleniogórski, woj. dolnośląskie)

Framework element or context represented:
Structural crystalline relief of the highest range of the Sudety Mts.

Primary geological/geomorphological interest:
Upper Carboniferous granite, Early Paleozoic matamorphic rocks, forms of granite weathering, glacial and periglacial relief and sediments.

Comparative assessment justification:
Unique Pleistocene glacial and periglacial relief well conserved in the Sudetes Mts.

Protection status and accessibility:
Karkonosze National Park (1959) and UNESCO MAB Biosphere Reserve (1992) adjacent with Karkonossky N.P. in the Czech Republic. The Landscape Protected Area Karkonosze - Góry Izerskie is the buffer zone of the Polish national park.

Character of site: Mountain range.

Area: 5580.5 ha

Altitude: 400 - 1602 m a.s.l.

Lithology: granitoids, other igneous rocks, tills, other metamorphic rocks

Discipline: Geomorphology, Stratigraphy of Quaternary, Stratigraphy of Proterozoic, Tectonics

Process Age: Quaternary, Paleogene, *all periods

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

Description of primary interest:
The Karkonosze Mts consist of the Upper Carboniferous granite intrusion and its metamorphic mantle. In the subsequent stages, as an effect of the postmagmatic processes, many pegmatitic, aplitic, microgranitic, lamprofiric, quartzitic and basaltic veins and bodies were formed. The granite body is characterised by the regular, three-dimensional fissure system, which controls the processes of granite weathering and formation of the tors. The youngest crystalline rocks in the Karkonosze Mts are Tertiary basalts. South of the town of Karpacz rises, consisting of the honfelse Śnieżka Mt., the highest peak of the whole Sudety Mts (1602 m a.s.l.). The area to the east of Śnieżka belongs to the metamorphic mantle of the Karkonosze Mts and is composed of the Precambrian and Early Palaeozoic metamorphic rocks. Nearby the town of Kowary there are several former mines of iron and uranium. The peaks of Śnieżka and Szyszak, formed by the highly resistant rocks, raise above the tertiary planation surface. Under hot and wet climatic conditions, in both Tertiary and Eopleistocene, the extensive chemical weathering processes, forming a granite brush and some tors developed. Rejuvenation of the whole massif, combined with extensive faulting, took place in Tertiary. The valleys of some rivers are deeply incised into the bedrock and form the steep canyons thus. Therefore, the area is abundant in the waterfalls: Kamieńczyk - 27 m high, Szklarka - 10 m high. During the Pleistocene glaciation several moraines, lakes and cirques were formed. Natural glacial lakes are characteristic for Karkonosze Mts. Well developed periglacial phenomena: boulder fields, polygonal soils, frost-riven cliffs, frost-riven scarps.


BOBIŃSKI W., GAWLIKOWSKA E., KŁONOWSKI M. 1999–Important geosites of the Polish Sudetes. Pol. Geol. Inst., Spec. Papers, 2: 19-25.     BORKOWSKA M. 1966–Petrographie du granite des Karkonosze (French sum.). Geologia Sudetica 2: 7-107.     GAWLIKOWSKA E. 2000 - Geodiversity conservation of the Lower Silesia (English sum.). Pol. Geol. Inst. Warszawa.     JAHN A. (red.) 1985–Karkonosze Polskie (Polish only). Ossolineum, Wrocław.     STEĆ T., WALCZAK W. 1954–Karkonosze. Zarys monograficzny (Polish only). Sport i Turystyka, Warszawa.