19 Geological Specimens Found In Poland

The exhibitio order essays online n consists of 19 rocks, fossils and bones from the area of today’s Poland. It’s en effect of a query carried out by Katarzyna Przezwańska in three Warsaw museums: Geological Museum of the National Geological Institute – National Research Institute, Stanisław J. Thugutt Geological Museum, and Polish Academy of Sciences Museum of the Earth in Warsaw. Even though the presented specimens describe Poland’s geological landscape only fragmentarily, narrowing down the selection was intentional. A funny looking shell fossil, a tiny meteorite, or a lump of salt that would last for a million of soups are often passed unnoticed in the crowd of thousands of museum exhibits.

The specimens presented at the exhibition are arranged in chronological order and described in detail. They all share a long history, giving the viewers a healthy distance from a relatively short period in which humans populate our planet. Today’s online essay writing company fossils used to run or grow on Earth, in the mood not worse than ours. Not everybody knows that woolly rhinoceros used to live in the area of today’s Poland, and that a thirty-year-old mammoth once gave life at Warsaw’s Kopińska street.

An original display is an equally important part of the project. Przezwańska designed the forms and colors of the stands with great attention. These objects wouldn’t feel out of place at a contemporary sculpture exhibition. The abundance of colors and forms created by nature could put more than one artist to shame.

organized by
Art in the City Foundation, Ghelamco

coordinator:
Marta Czyż

assistant:
Gustaw Maj

partners and support:
Polish Academy of Sciences Museum of the Earth in Warsaw
Stanisław Józef Thugutt Geological
Museum – Faculty of Geology at the University of Warsaw Geological
Museum of the National Geological Institute – National Research Institute

Granitognejs śnieżnicki

period of creation: Precambrian (2.5 bn years ago)

excavation site: Międzygórze (Lower Silesia)

 

It comes from the Śnieżnik massif. The specimen was created throughout millions of years and was a constant subject to metamorphosis. First it started as a granite, an acidic igneous rock coming from the centre of the Earth. Later, as a result of high temperature and pressure collaterally segmented layers of minerals were created. Due to the activity of liquids and gases inside of the Earth, its composition was gradually altered, replacing substances with different ones.

The piece comes from the collection of Geological Museum of the National Geological Institute – National Research Institute.

Marianna Marble

period: Neoproterozoic – Cambrian (550-500 million years ago)

excavation site: Stronie Śląskie (Lower Silesia)

Marble is a metamorphic rock shaped by high pressure and temperature. It is composed mainly from calcium carbonate (calcite) – the same substance which creates “the scale” settling in the kitchen or bathroom. Marianna comes in white and green variations, with heterochromatic smudges coloured with iron compounds and mica minerals. The name of the marble comes from the name of duchess Marianna Orańska who was the owner of a large part of the Śnieżnik Massif and Bialskie Mountains, where the seams are located. The white Marianna was used in the interiors of the Parliament, the National Philharmonic, the Grand Theatre and Warsaw Central Railway Station.

The piece comes from the collection of Polish Academy of Sciences Museum of the Earth in Warsaw.

Halysites sp. Tabulate corals

period: Ordovician (485.4-443.8 million years ago)

excavation site: northern Poland
Halysites belongs to an extinct group of corals known as tabulate corals.

They lived in warm seas, where along with sponges and other corals were the creators of first reefs. Coralits, i.e. the skeletons of single specimens, are oval and contact with each other with a narrower edges forming a chain shaped colony. The fossils of the tabulate corals found in Poland come from the terrain of modern Sweden, from where they were transported millions of years later by a continental glacier during the Pleistocene epoch glaciation.

The piece comes from the collection of Polish Academy of Sciences Museum of the Earth in Warsaw.

Calamites sp. calamite steinkern

period: Carboniferous (358.9-298.9 million years ago).

excavation site: Wałbrzych (Lower Silesia)

Calamites are tree-like equisetum plants which used to grow on the most wetland territories of carboniferous swamps. Their height reached even 10-20 m and its trunk had diameter of up to 1 m. Similarly as modern equisetums, they were characterised by segmental composition of shoots and whorled leaves arrangement. The trunks of older specimens were covered with thick bark and were empty inside. The specimen is an inner cast of the trunk – the so-called steinkern, most common type of fossil calamites. Its surface bears the traces of vertical vascular bundles and horizontal divide of the segments of the plant trunk.

The piece comes from the collection of Polish Academy of Sciences Museum of the Earth in Warsaw.

Polypodiopsida Cronq. fern fronds imprints

period: Carboniferous (358.9-298.9 million years ago)

excavation site: Upper Silesia

The presented specimen is a fossil with fern leaves plants imprints. Ferns evolved into a myriad of forms in Carboniferous: from herbaceous, trailing and creeping plants to tree-like and shrubby forms. They were present in all types of carboniferous swamp habitats. Two groups of ferns can be specified – cryptogams and spermatophytes. In modern flora only cryptogam ferns can be seen, their morphological forms still highly diverse. Spermatophyte ferns became extinct at the end of Mesophytic era around 100 million years ago. What a pity.

The piece comes from the collection of Polish Academy of Sciences Museum of the Earth in Warsaw.

Coal ball

period: Carboniferous (358.9-298.9 million years ago)

excavation site: Morcinek mine pit, Kaczyce (Cieszyn Silesia)

 

Carbon is a flammable sedimentary rock created as a result of carbonisation of vegetable matter, such as calamites or polystichum. Among the sediments of upper carbon, in black coal mine pit Morcinek, on the depth of 1400 m rare coal ball was found. The creation of such coal is connected with thermic activity of igneous objects from the centre of the Earth against the existing layers of carboniferous sediments.

 

The piece comes from the collection of Geological Museum of the National Geological Institute – National Research Institute.

Connated smoky quartz crystals

period: difficult to define

excavation site: Czernica mine pit, Strzegom (Lower Silesia)

Quartz is a silicon dioxide, the most abundant mineral in the Earth’s continental crust (comprises 12.5% of its weight). Regular beach sand is mostly composed of quartz grains. In Strzegom pegmatites, intrusive rocks of granitoid massif, it creates large crystals of up to 60 cm length.

It is difficult to determine its age. The granites in which the pegmatites were created date back to the end of the Carboniferous and the beginning of the Permian, while quartz formed in them in later geological periods. In the smoky version it is slightly coloured because its inner structure was a subject to natural radiation.

The piece comes from the collection of Geological Museum of the National Geological Institute – National Research Institute.

Sand-siderite concretion

period: Upper Carboniferous (358.9-298.9 million years ago)

excavation site: Flora mine pit, Dąbrowa Górnicza (Upper Silesia)

Concretion is a compact mineral mass created as a result of gradual precipitation of minerals around an object in a rock – it can be a roundstone, fossil or even a grain of sand. The core of the concretion remains unknown. The precipitation always occurs from the core outwards, forming the concretion in a spherical shape. The inner composition of the concretion is often concentric or concentric-radial.

The piece comes from the collection of Geological Museum of the National Geological Institute – National Research Institute.

Pleurotomaria snail steinkern

period: Upper Jurassic (163.5-145 mln years ago)

excavation site: Kraków-Częstochowa Upland

Steinkern is a form of natural fossil of an empty snail shell in a calcic rock with sand. The beginnings of the marine snails from the Pleurotomariidae family date back to early Paleozoic. Nowadays the primitive mollusca constitute a relict group living in the sea depths. They grow as big as 20 cm, are carnivorous and discharge white deterrent when in danger. What distinguishes them among other snails is the long crevice on the last volute of a shell which helps them breathe. The fossil forms of the snail can be usually found in shallow water of different periods – in Poland mainly in rocks from the Jurassic and Cretaceous epochs.

The piece comes from the collection of Polish Academy of Sciences Museum of the Earth in Warsaw.

Moyenisauropus natafor dinosaur track

period: Lower Jurassic (199.6-175.6 million years ago)

excavation site: Gromadzice near Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski

There are many tracks left by dinosaurs in Poland – the extinct vertebrae living on Earth between 210 and 70 million years ago. The first tracks of dinosaurs in Poland were found in 1959 in Gliniany Las near Kielce. Dinosaur’s track from Gromadzice is a natural cast – a fossilised track of Scelidosaurus’ foot. Walking dinosaur left the imprint in a wet ground, which was immediately covered with sediment hardening later for many million years. Scelidosaurus was a large four-legged herbivorous ornithischian dinosaur – an ancestor of spiked Stegosaurus and armoured dinosaurs. Its length reached 5 metres and weight was up to 2 tons.

The piece comes from the collection of Geological Museum of the National Geological Institute – National Research Institute.

Procerites sp. ammonite

period: Middle Jurassic – Bathonian (166.1-168.3 million years ago)

excavation site: Gnaszyn near Częstochowa (Kraków-Częstochowa Upland)

 

Ammonites are extinct organisms which belong to the most evolved group of mollusca – cephalopods. Ammonitida, to which Procerites belong, emerged at the turn of the Triassic and Jurassic periods. They used to live in loamy sediments, away from the marine coast. Ore-bearing loams containing iron, in clay pit of Gnaszyn brickfield, are abundant in fossils of this kind. The smallest ammonites measured about 1 cm, but the diameter of the largest specimens was up to 2 metres wide (the biggest specimen found in Poland measures 1.5 m). They became extinct due to the same reasons as dinosaurs – as a result of catastrophic environmental changes probably triggered by the hit of meteorite at the end of the Cretaceous.

 

The piece comes from the collection of Geological Museum of the National Geological Institute – National Research Institute.

Chrysoprase

period: Tertiary (65-1.8 million years ago)

excavation site: Szklary mine pit, Ząbkowice Śląskie (Lower Silesia)

Chrysoprase is a mineral coloured green by nickel compounds, a common chalcedony variation with a semicrystalline structure. A seam of chrysoprase in a closed Szklary nickle pit is known as the most famous place of the kind in Poland and Europe. Common forms of chrysoprase occurences are streaks and plates of up to 15 cm of thickness. Uncracked chrysoprases with highest purity levels and intense green colour are used in jewellery.

The piece comes from the collection of Geological Museum of the National Geological Institute – National Research Institute.

Trachycarpus raphifolia (Sternnb.) Takht. = Sabal haeringiana (Ett.) palm leaf imprint

period: Lower Miocene (23.03-20.44 million years ago)

excavation site: Osieczów (Lower Silesia)

Palms evolved in the upper Cretaceous period (100-70 million years ago). The presented palm leaf imprint is younger – it is ca. 20 million years old. It bears resemblance to modern saw palmettos from warm regions of Southern America. Trachycarpus raphiofilia palms from Osieczów used to grow on coastal dunes near a freshwater reservoir. They were surrounded by pines and trees from fagaceae, salicaceae, lauraceae, myricaceae, and other families. The occurrence of pine and palm fossils indicates that the climate on Lower Silesia terrains in the Lower Miocene was much milder than it is nowadays – the lowest temperatures were around -6°C (nowadays as low as -41°C), and the highest, similarly as it is nowadays, around 40°C.

The piece comes from the collection of Polish Academy of Sciences Museum of the Earth in Warsaw.

Calcite

period: difficult to define

excavation site: Wojcieszów, Kaczawskie Mountains (Lower Silesia)

The specimen presents forms of dripstone created as a result of karstic processes in Wojcieszów limestones. Such dripstones in caves are created by long-lasting dripping of water solution with calcium carbonate which forms in a characteristic shape. The age of the limestones can be defined as hailing from the Cambrian (550-500 million years ago) thanks to the occurrence of fossils known as Archaeocyatha. In the excavation process of Wojcieszów limestones first the rocks on the exploitation levels of the stone pit were blown up. As a result of one of the explosions a hole was uncovered which revealed a part of a cave with the dripstone. The specimen was given to the participants of terrain programme in Sudetes – the students of geology at the University of Warsaw in the 50s of the 20th century.

The piece comes from the collection of S. J. Thugutt Geological Museum – Faculty of Geology at the University of Warsaw.

Salix acutissima Goepp. willow leaves and Ulmus carpinoides Goepp. elm leaves imprints

period: Upper Miocene (7.25–5.33 million years ago)

excavation site: Sośnica (Lower Silesia)

Outstandingly rich plant matter was excavated in the outcrop of old brickyard in Sośnica. The imprints of leaves (rarely twigs, flowers, fruits and seeds) come from trees and shrubs of riparian forest – such as fossils of willows, elms and alders, but also exotic for today’s Poland liquidambars, sycamores and pterocaryas. These are mainly trees which leaves fall in winter, which signifies the cooling of the climate in the younger Miocene. The material also preserved the remains of water and swamp plants and plants from a mix coniferous forest. A research on fossil flora from Sośnica was published in the 50s of the 19th century and was the first paleobotanical work in the world.

The piece comes from the collection of Polish Academy of Sciences Museum of the Earth in Warsaw.

Celestine on sulphur

period: Neogene – Miocene (23.03-5.333 million years ago)

excavation site: Machów mine pit, Tarnobrzeg (Subcarpathia)

A dozen or so million years ago, in Miocene there was a warm, shallow sea at the Carpathian foothill. As a result of evaporation of sea water from oversaturated solutions, different chemical sediments precipitated (rock salt and gypsum among others) which settled on hills of the seabed. Due to metasomatic transitions aided by the activity of sulphur bacteria, gypsum transformed into seams of sulphur and celestine. Open-cut Machów mine pit was opened in 1964. The sulphur excavation led to serious contamination and environmental changes which, along with the emergence of abundant cheap sulphur on the market, caused closing of all sulphur pits in Poland.

The piece comes from the collection of Geological Museum of the National Geological Institute – National Research Institute.

Mammoth’s thoracic vertebra (Mammuthus primigenius)

period: Pleistocene (115-11.7 thousand years ago)

excavation site: Kopińska, Warsaw (Masovia)

The bones of the mammoth were discovered on the depth of 5 m in 1971 during ground works on the route of projected Jerozolimskie alleys. The mammoth died in its prime years when it was ca. 30 years old. The pelvic bones were not found therefore the sex of the mammoth remains undefined. Mammoths were as big as 2.4 m and weighed as much as 6 t. Mammoths were hunted for fur, meat and bones which were used to produce weapons, tools and even whole habitations. They became extinct probably due to climate change, genetic weakening and human activity around 10 thousand years ago, but close pygmy relatives lived on Wrangel Island even in the times of Pharaohs (even around 3750 years ago).

The piece comes from the collection of Polish Academy of Sciences Museum of the Earth in Warsaw.

Woolly rhinoceros’ skull (Coelodonta antiquitatis)

period: Pleistocene (115-11.7 thousand years ago)

excavation site: Zegrze (Masovia)

During works at site of Zegrzyński Reservoir in the 60s of the 20th century in gravel sediments of the Narew riverbed, bones of giant Pleistocene mammals were discovered – the skulls of woolly rhinoceros and steppe bison as well as mammoth’s teeth. The rhinoceros from Zegrze was 4 m long, 2 m tall, weighed up to 3 tons and had red brown fur. He was a typical member of megafauna of the Ice Age, populating areas on the forefield of continental glaciers. In Poland the remains of the giant mammal can be found mainly in the sediments of the last glaciation (Vistula glaciation).

The piece comes from the collection of Polish Academy of Sciences Museum of the Earth in Warsaw.

Łowicz meteorite

period: ca. 4 bn years ago (in Poland since 1935)

fall location: Łowicz area (Masovia)

Łowicz meteorite fell in the form of a stony rain in the South of Łowicz on March 12, 1935 at 0:52. The bang of defragmentation of the meteorite was heard in Warsaw, yet the phenomenon was visible only in southern Poland near Olkusz.

Almost 110 kg of fragments were collected, the biggest fragment weighed approx. 10 kg. It is a stony-iron meteorite, the so-called mesosiderite – one of the rarest types of meteorites. It probably comes from inner regions of the Solar System. A potential source of such meteorites can be 16 Psyche or Vesta planetoids – one of the biggest objects in the planetoid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

The piece comes from the collection of Polish Academy of Sciences Museum of the Earth in Warsaw.