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Featured article from geoscience journal

Acta Geologica Polonica, 2011, Vol 64, Issue 4, p. 341-365
Ascending speleogenesis of Sokola Hill: a step towards a speleogenetic model of the Polish Jura

The paper deals with the origin of caves in Sokola Hill (Polish Jura). the caves abound in solution cavities in the walls and ceilings, many of them arranged hierarchically, some others arranged in rising sets. blind chimneys and ceiling half-tubes are also present. these features collectively indicate that the caves originated under phreatic conditions by an ascending flow of water, probably of elevated temperature. Phreatic calcite spar, crystallized from water of elevated temperature, lines the cave walls. during the formation of the caves the Jurassic limestone aquifer was confined by impermeable cover. three possible scenarios for the origin of the caves are suggested. the first scenario points to formation of the caves during the Palaeogene prior to the removal of the confining cretaceous marls. the second connects the origin of the caves with regional palaeoflow driven by tectonic loading by carpathian nappes to the south, while the third refers to local topographically driven palaeoflow. both the second and third scenarios assume that the Polish Jura had a cover of Miocene impermeable clastics. All the scenarios account for the origin of the caves in Sokola Hill and explain the common occurrence of ascending caves throughout the Polish Jura.

In the subsequent stages of evolution the caves were partly filled with various deposits. conglomerates composed of Jurassic limestone clasts, quartz sands and sandstones are preserved as erosional remnants, locally covered by or interfingered with calcite flowstones. the clastic deposits were laid down by surface streams that invaded the caves earlier than 1.2 Ma. the caves were not invaded by water from Pleistocene glaciers, which is proved by the assemblage of heavy minerals in the cave clastics.