Geographia Polonica (1988) vol. 53

The Tertiary environment of Poland

Sylwia Gilewska

Geographia Polonica (1988) vol. 53, pp. 19-42 | Full text

At the beginning of the Tertiary there came into being the three principalpalaeogeographical units of Poland's territory which showed different developmentaltendencies. The vast Tethys Ocean prevailed in the south throughout the LowerTertiary. In upper Tertiary times, emergence of the Carpathians took place there. In thenorth, the present Polish Lowlands showed dominant tendencies towards subsidencecausing repeated transgression of the shallow Lower Tertiary epicontinental seas. Inupper Tertiary times, here extended the central inland basin and later on either aperiodically flooded area or a residual lake of marine origin. The above units weredivided by a land-bridge named the meta-Carpathian elevation (J. Nowak 1927). Theremaining portion of it is the present belt of both ancient orogens and uplands markedby a diversity of structure-controlled relief types. The history of relief will be describedagainst the background of vegetation and climatic conditions prevailing in the differentphases of the Tertiary.Since most of Poland's territory has been buried in Quaternary times by theFennoscandian inland-ice, the state of preservation of the old surfaces differs widely.Furthermore, the ice-free areas were subjected to intense periglacial processes. As aconsequence, the Tertiary relief had to be reconstructed in southern Poland(L. Starkel 1965). The various erosional-denudational relief types surround frequently,in a series of steps, the great tectonic elevations reflecting both the vertical zonation offeatures and successive stages in the relief evolution. The latter may be inferred from acomplex analysis of the different genetic-chronologic relief types, associated smallerlandforms, and of waste- and allogenic sheets. The text is illustrated by fourpalaeogeomorphological maps which are based on the published data cited under"References".

Sylwia Gilewska, Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization Polish Academy of Sciences, Św. Jana 22, 31-018 Kraków, Poland