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Michał Gradziński
Sekcja Taternictwa Jaskiniowego KW-Kraków
Caves in Poland

There are more than 3400 known caves in Poland. They are of karst and non karst (pseudokarst) origin. The former are developed in karst rocks mainly in limestones and dolomites, rarely in gypsum and marbles and exceptionally in rock salt. Although the karstified rocks are widely distributed, the outcrops are rather small and occupy only about 2.5 % of the country area (i.e. about 8000 km2). The rest are overlain by loose Cainosoic age deposits. The non karst caves are developed mainly in various sandstones. The Polish caves are arranged in eight main regions which are characterized below.

 

Studnia w Kazalnicy Miętusiej, the Western Tatra Mts, ph. Jakub Nowak

Distribution of caves in Poland; the caves mentioned in text: 1. Jaskinia w Ociemnem, 2. Jaskinia w Trzech Kopcach, 3. Diabla Dziura w Bukowcu, 4. Kryształowe Groty in Wieliczka salt mine, 5. caves in lead-zinc mines near Olkusz, 6. Jaskinia Wierna , 7. Jaskinia Studnisko, 8. Jaskinia Skorocicka, 9. Chelosiowa Jama, 10. Jaskinia Raj, 11. Jaskinia NiedĽwiedzia, 12. Szczelina Wojcieszowska, 13. caves near Inowrocław, 14. caves near Gdańsk

 

The Western
Tatra Mountains
(Tatry Zachodnie)

The Tatra is the only mountain range of Alpine type morphology which occurs in Poland. They occupy the area of 785 km2 (in Poland only 175 km2). The karst rock (limestones and dolomites of Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous age) build mainly the Western part of the Tatra range. They occur on the area of 50 km2. This area is practically the only region in Poland where large and deep caves are encountered. Because of that the everyday activity of Polish cavers, both exploration and training is concentrated in this area. Long life anchors were installed in the most popular caves of this region.
Now more than 700 caves are known in the Western Tatra Mountains. The total length of these caves exceed 100 km. The highest peaks built up of karst rock are higher than 2000 m and the main karst springs are situated at the level of about 1000 m. The majority of caves are located in the following areas: slopes of Bobrowiec, Kominiarski Wierch, the Ko¶cieliska Valley, the Czerwone Wierchy massif, Giewont, Kalacka Turnia and Kopa Magury. The most of the longest and deepest caves are situated in the Czerwone Wierchy massif.



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