Wietrznia – Zbigniew Rubinowski reserve

Wietrznia – Zbigniew Rubinowski reserve is the final height in the Kadzielnia Range and is located in the eastern part of Kielce, between the Wojska Polskiego, Daleszycka and Księcia Józefa Poniatowskiego streets. This is the largest of the Kielce geological reserves, whose shape was influenced by mining and takes the form of a canyon surrounded  by rocky faces. It consists of the adjoined excavations of Wietrznia, Międzygórz and Międzygórz Wschodni, whose total length is ca. 800 metres. Recorded in the ca. 100 metre long vertical profile is the history of the sea's development from the end of the middle Devonian through almost the whole late Devonian period, i.e. 365-386 years ago. It is also one of the largest such exposures in Poland. The thick sediment banks that are found here were formed in a warm sea in the vicinity of a shallow shelf, a little deeper than the one at Kadzielnia, which bordered on a reef at that period.

The rocky faces are dominated by limestones formed from Anthozoa remains brought from the nearby  Stromatoporoidean-Anthozoan reefs. New species of late Devonian Anthozoa have been found on Wietrznia. They are accompanied by the remains of  fossil  Coelenterata,  Stromatoporoidea,  Crinoidea, as well as shells of Brachiopoda and Gastropoda. In the sediment, the periods when the sea was less deep are recorded by a lower amount of organic remains and a larger proportion of loam, which led to the formation of marl. The upper parts of the northern faces are made out of younger, narrow limestone-marl banks that were formed after a significant deepening of the late Devonian sea. The rare fossils that can be found here are represented by Cephalopoda and Placodermi remains. The Variscan tectonic movements in the late Carboniferous and Permian periods (251-325 Ma) made a mark with the formation of faults and the folding of rock layers. Hot mineral waters (hydrothermal waters) were thrust into the crevices. From these waters colourful calcitic veins crystallized – they can be seen in some parts of the northern faces of the quarry and can contain trace amounts of other minerals (lead and copper sulphides). Near the fault crevice that cuts through the southern face of the western excavation, the hot solution rich in magnesium compounds transformed the limestone into dolomites. In the desert climate of the Permian period (251-299 Ma) weathering covered the exposed Devonian limestone with a layer of tiny rock debris several metres thick. With time, these isolated rock fragments were cemented anew. They make up the upper parts of the southern faces of the quarry.

The multi-stage Alpine tectonic movements that took place in the Paleogene and Neogene (5-65 Ma) led to the opening of a 100 metre wide tectonic cavity that runs along the axis of the whole quarry. It was filled with rubble and debris. It can be seen in the central excavation of the quarry; in a solitary outlier (which is sometimes called the “Elephant”) and on a pillar that closes this part of the quarry from the east. The specific blocks reach up to several metres in height. The numerous karstic phenomena that are exposed on the faces of the quarry represent the two stages of the Świętokrzyskie karst development (Permian-Triassic and Cenozoic) which makes Wietrznia the most varied site in the region in this respect. In addition to small caves (the longest of which reaches 60 metres in length and can be found on the bottom of the central excavation), wells, karst chimneys, and even a wide karst crater, silt deposits were formed that varied by type and colour of the sediment. The karst processes that are still taking place are forming a sinter sheet on one of the southern faces of the eastern excavation. Due to the high educational value of the site, Wietrznia was chosen for the location of the Geoeducation Centre. The facility, which will be run by Geopark Kielce, will host permanent and temporary exhibitions covering various geological subjects and will additionally serve as a perfect spot for theme workshops, lectures, presentations and scientific meetings.