Palynology of Oligocene lignites in two karst palaeosinkholes at Górażdże, Upper Silesia, Poland

Elżbieta Worobiec, Joachim Szulc


A palynological analysis was carried out on about 115 samples from two borehole cores, containing the infills of two palaeosinkholes at Górażdże. In both sinkholes, well preserved palynofloras were found in several lignite samples. A total of 54 fossil species, including 5 species of cryptogam spores, 7 species of gymnosperm pollen and 42 species of angiosperm pollen, were identified. No marine palynomorphs or microremains re-deposited from older sediments have been found in these samples. The spore-pollen assemblage made it possible to date the sinkhole deposits. The composition of the assemblage (e.g., abundance of small tricolporate pollen grains of the Fagaceae family, including Cupuliferoipollenites pusillus, Fususpollenites fusus, and Quercoidites microhenricii) indicates that the age of the lignites in both sinkholes is early Oligocene. Thus, the deposits at Górażdże correspond to the 5th Czempiń lignite seam group. The 5th seam occurs mainly in northwestern Poland and its lignites were deposited in isolated wetland basins with marine influences. The terrestrial Górażdże palynoflora without any marine influence shows mainly local early Oligocene vegetation from the surrounding area. The results are also direct evidence of the multiphase palaeokarst of the Silesian-Cracow Upland, including the deposition of lignites of various ages.

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