The historical tenement houses at 1 and 3 Senacka Street in Kraków are the locations of the valuable collections of the Institute of Geological Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences. They explain the processes that shaped present day Earth and its geological past. The permanent exhibition: Geological Structure of the Kraków Area was prepared for visitors whose knowledge of geological issues is at different levels. Museum visitors will find here both information on the geology of the Kraków area and detailed data on rocks and fossils, tectonic issues, the topography of the area, karst topography and the geological history of the area.
The Museum houses the largest collection of meteorites in Poland, with 333 exhibits. One of them is the Pułtusk meteorite which fell in the vicinity of Warsaw on 30 January 1868 in the form of a shower of aerolites (a rain of stones). The exhibition also features the most important fauna and flora fossils as well as trace fossils from the Kraków area. The topographic map created by the Museum enables the locating of well-known geological objects in Krakow, e.g. Zakrzówek or Smocza Jama (Dragon’s Den).

Elaborated by Olga Kasztelewicz, Joanna Kotarba,
Licencja Creative Commons

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Poland License.

Photograph by Marek Antoniusz Święch, arch. MIK (2012),
Licencja Creative Commons

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Poland License.

ul. Senacka 1,
31-002 Kraków

phone 12 422 19 10
phone 12 422 89 20
Fax 12 422 16 09
page museum

Opening hours

Thursday  — Friday
10.00 — 15.00
10.00 — 14.00

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Concentration of halite crystals

Halite is a mineral from the halides group; its main component is sodium chloride (NaCl). A monomineral rock composed of halite constitutes halite rock salt, commonly known as rock salt. The presented specimen has a historical nature and it comes from the Crystal Grotto in the Wieliczka Salt Mine.

“Vaca Muerta” meteorite

In the classification of meteorites, Vaca Muerta belongs to a small group of iron and stone meteorites known as mesosiderites. Mesosiderites are meteorites containing both stone and iron parts. Metal does not constitute a consolidated and unbroken structure, but appears in the form of larger or smaller fragments of meteorite iron melted into a mass of silicate minerals.

“Pułtusk” meteorite

The Pułtusk meteorite fell down near Pułtusk in the form of a shower of aerolites, spreading over an area of 127 km², between the villages of Tocznabiel, Wielgołas (from the south-west) as well as Rzewnie and Boruty (from the north-east). The “ball of fire” flew from south-west to north-east, dragging a whitish bent tail. This phenomenon was watched in many places in Poland, including, for example, Wrocław, Gdańsk, Königsberg, Kraków and Lviv.

Bennettitales (a fossil plant) “Cycadeoidea polonica Wallisch”

The presented object is a fragment of the trunk of a cycad — a fossil plant. Bennettitales (Cycadeoidopsida) is a class of extinct gymnosperms which could be found all over the world in the Mesozoic era. In Poland only several specimens of the silicified sprouts of these plants, which belong to the family of Cacadeoidaceae, are known.

Bennettitales (a fossil plant) “Cycadeoidea Niedźwiedzki Rac.”

The presented object is a trunk of a cycad — a fossil plant. Bennettitales (Cycadeoidopsida) is a class of extinct gymnosperms which could be found all over the world in the Mesozoic era.

Ammonite “Perisphinctes (Dichotomosphinctes) crotalinus Siemiradzki”

The specimen comes from the historic collection gathered in 1872 by Stanisław Zaręczny. It was marked in 1891 by Józef Siemiradzki as a new specimen (currently holotype) and then described in his publication Fauna kopalna warstw oksfordzkich i kimerydzkich w okręgu krakowskim i przyległych częściach Królestwa Polskiego, Część I: Głowonogi, (The fossil fauna of the Oxfordian and Kimmeridgian layers in the Kraków area and the neighbouring part of the Kingdom of Poland, Part I: Cephalopods) in: Pamiętnik Akademii Umiejętności w Krakowie, Wydział Matematyczno-Przyrodniczy, Vol. 18, issue I.

“Paradoxides Bohemicus” trilobite

Trilobites were sea animals. Their oval and flattened body was covered with a chitinous carapace on the dorsal side. A trilobites' carapace consisted of three segments and visible body parts: a head, trunk and tail. Each of these parts could have thorns.

“Grzempy” stone meteorite (H5 chondrite)

A certain Bydołek, a farmer from the village of Grzempy, while working in his homestead, suddenly saw a »fiery sphere« falling to the ground. While falling, the sphere broke off some branches of a nearby tree and became stuck in the ground. At the same time, a fierce, thunder-like clatter could be heard, and »fumes resembling burnt sulphur were present«...

“Cymatoceras patens” nautilida

Cymatoceras patens nautilida is one of the representatives of an extinct group of cephalopods living in the sea of the Upper Cretaceous, which covered the area of present day Poland 100.5 to 66 million years ago.

Septarian concretion of polygonal pattern

Septarian, marlite or clayish and ferruginous concretion is a type of spherical, elliptical or lens-shaped aggregate of minerals occurring within sedimentary rocks, e.g. loam.

“Rhabdocidaris nobilis” sea urchin

Rhabdocidaris nobilis sea urchin is an extinct species of a regular echinoid which was one of the free-living sea echinoderms. Its name derives from the Greek words echinoshedgehog and eidos – figure”.

Calcite (“druse”)

Calcite is a mineral of the carbonate class, also known as calcium carbonate. Its name derives from the Greek word chalix and the Latin word calx (calcis) – meaning calcium, which is a reference to the traditional application of this mineral. It develops isometric, plate, prism and needle crystals.

Limonite dripstone

Limonite (brown iron ore) is a fine-grained or cryptocrystalline mixture of iron oxides and hydroxides which used to be regarded as a separate mineral, and now it is regarded as a type of rock. It is mainly made of goethite, a mineral of the hydroxide class.

Cellular limonite

Limonite (a brown iron ore) is a fine-grained or cryptocrystalline mixture of iron oxides and hydroxides which used to be regarded as a separate mineral, but now is regarded as a type of rock. Limonite's name derives from the Greek word λειμωυ, meaning meadow, and is a reference to its common occurrence in the form of turf ores in wetlands.

Grinder of a mammoth “Mammuthus Primigenius”

The presented object is a grinder of a woolly mammoth (Mammuthus Primigenius) – an extinct herbivorous mammal of the elephantine family.

“Kidney-shaped” malachite

Malachite is a mineral of the carbonate class, one of the most common minerals and it is widely spread throughout the Earth’s crust. From antiquity, it has been valued as an ornamental stone, amulet and as a medicine. Malachite has been used to produce jewellery, household goods, facing plates used for interior finishing, as well as green dyes and paints.

“Volutis pina casimiri” snail

Volutis pina casimiri snail is a fossil of a snail of the Volutidae family encrusted by worms and bryozoans (a water invertebrate which formed colonies). The presented form is a kind of a fossilised natural cast, which was created when the softer parts of the organism became pickled.

An impression of the body of a tuna-like fish with skeletons of smaller fish in its abdominal section

This is a fragment of a thick layer of dolomitic ferruginous mudstone with an impression of a tuna-like fish on one side. In its abdominal section, there are preserved skeletons of smaller fish that have been eaten.

Impression of an insect (fossil dragonfly) in lithographic limestone

The presented specimen is an impression of a fossil dragonfly of the species, Mesuropetala, preserved in lithographic limestone, which was found in Solnhofen, Germany. The specimen is 144–155 million years old.

Skeleton of an ichthyosaur “Ichthyosaurus communis”

Ichthyosaurs were sea reptiles which evolved in the Middle Triassic, reached the peak of their development in the Jurassic, and became extinct in the Upper Cretaceous. The presented skeleton of an ichthyosaur Ichthyosaurus communis was preserved in slates.

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