The limestone quarry in Ligota Dolna

This quarry was established before the second World War, and the intensive exploitation took place in the 1970s and the 1980s, and in 1994 it was closed. Going down the road from Ligota Dolna we can see the furnace for burning lime constructed before World War II. Usually such furnaces were not decorated.  Therefore, it is unusual to see a nice bas-relief of Icarus, the character from an ancient myth, according to which he was the first man who could fly, placed on the wall of the furnace. He died during his first flight. The sculpture was placed here in memory of a pilot from the neighbouring airport in Ligota, who died in 1932 by crushing the plane on the furnace

In the quarry (wall height of the lower main headings is 10 m, and the height of the top level -8m) the so-called Gogolin layers of limestone are located (on the lower level) and the lowest part of Górażdże layers (the upper level).

The visible level is built of thin stratified (2-4 cm) limestone, of slightly corrugated lower surfaces and upper layers. These limestone rocks are called corrugated and they are typical of Gogolin layers of limestone (observed also in the valley of Krowiok). If we are looking for the animal remains, we will see that they are not very numerous and represented mainly by Plagiostoma striatum clams. The rock in the landslide is very fine-grained, lacks in shells' sections or other distinguishable structures. As it has been already mentioned, while discussing the uncovering in the valley of Krowiok, such formations are produced in lagoons, in calm waters, but containing small amount of oxygen. In higher sections, the walls within the packages of limestone, are frequently thicker (up to 12 cm) layers of limestone of more even surfaces. After splitting of the sample of such rock, we will see that it is more coarse-grained, crystalline and often (in less overcrystallized sections) we will notice numerous screws and clams. These are deep-sea deposits transported to a lagoon by storms, flowing through the strip of shoals separating the lagoon from the sea and transporting the shells from the barrier. Such sporadic storm currents created the limestone made of animal shells. Let's look at southern wall of the quarry. The red outlines of very large and numerous hoppers of karst are visible there, which is connected to the liquidation of limestone by solutions circulating in rocks along the cracks and gaps. Such process was possible only in the warm climate of the middle Tertiary, when such rocks were created.

The upper level is made from completely different limestone: coarsely layered, lighter and, which is visible in samples, made of limestone full of crumbled shells and onkoids. There are also very finely-grained limestones (with sections similar to those from of the lower level), but they are characterised by much greater thickness of layers and a complete lack of animal remains. This rock complex shows a classic profile of the lowest part of Górażdże layers, comparable with the lowest batch of the main wall of the amphitheatre. The ceiling of Gogolin layers of limestone is covered with long (more than 10 m), corrugated tops, a few centimetres high and of a range of a few cm This a beautiful and rare example of the so-called ripple marks. Despite the strange name, each of us could see them (though smaller) while being on the beach or the shallow. These are the wrinkles that are caused by the wavy motion or the current of water – the water force pushes the grains of the sediment, forming the ridges which then gradually move according to the current direction. Sand dunes are created by analogy, but there the wind is the driving force. In the case of structures in the Ligota quarry such characteristics are observed: a considerable length, symmetry of both slopes, relatively small sinuosity and sometimes visible Y - shaped junction prove that they have arisen as a result of corrugation rather than currents activity. This, however, proves that the bottom of this part of the reservoir is located shallowly (wavy ripple marks are not formed below 20 m, and most often they develop at depths up to several meters).

While leaving the quarry it is worth seeking the animal remains located on small heaps near the lime furnace – sometimes really nice examples can be spotted.

 

Information comes from: "Zanim Góra Św. Anny wynurzyła się z morza" ("Before St. Anne Mountain emerged from the sea"). "Skamieniałości, jaskinie i drogie kamienie wokół sanktuarium św. Anny" (Fossils, caves and valuable stones around the St. Anne sanctuary)

Robert Niedźwiedzki, Marek Zarankiewicz

The selected bibliography (only Polish)

* Thanks to the courtesy of Gazeta Wyborcza, Opole, the fragments of text by Robert Niedźwiedzki, published in Gazeta Wyborcza 3 XI and 30 XII 2006 were used in this study. Also the archaeological consultation provided by Dr Andrzej Wiśniewski from the University of Wrocław was used here.

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