This was used to identify a stalactite with an elongated, spindly-shape, hanging from the ceiling, for example, in a cave. It turns out that, in the case of halite, secondary crystallizations that grow from top to bottom can also take forms that are far from their classic appearance.
Sandstone with mudstone intercalations and marl with marly limestone deposited first in shallow then in a deeper basin in the Triassic. A carbonate complex, build mainly of limestone and partly of dolomite developed in the Middle Triassic.
The first, and quite numerous, projects of railway transport in the Wieliczka salt mine were designed around the mid-19th century; however, they were never implemented because of the enormous costs of drift reconstruction. Only in 1857 did the board devise the first precise plan for this challenging enterprise and the first works commenced. In 1861 the first metal rails were installed and after that almost all transport in the mine was conducted by wagons with metal boxes or horses pulling platforms.
During the first centuries of the existence of mines, small spoil was transferred from the face to the shaft in the basins and reeds; salt rocks and barrels were rolled with the help of walacz rods or pulled on the szlafy (the so-called sanice). The szlafy are mentioned only in 18th century sources; however, given the fact that they have been used on the surface long before the mine was created, it can be assumed that they were used in the Wieliczka salt pits in the Middle Ages.
The Hungarian-style horse mill was the best machine for the vertical transportation of salt. It was able to lift loads that weighed over 2 tonnes from a depth greater than 300 m. It was an improved version of the Saxon-style horse mill implemented by Austrians after the First Partition of Poland. Since 1861 it was replaced by steam engines and after 1913 by electrical machines.
Presented specimen is unique because of the locus of occurrence holomorphic zinc and lead ores. It takes the form of fine-grained, dense masses, which, after surface polishing, are very effective - as in the case of our sphalerite.
Presented specimen is a dense and grainy aggregate of marcasite, on which surface grown the crystals of calcite.
Carbide lamps consisted of two metal containers, one on top of the other. Carbide was the bottom one, whereas the top one contained water. The carbide container had a pipe going out of it with a burner at the end. At the bottom of the water container there was a small hole through which water dripped slowly onto the carbide.
Marcasite is a common mineral, which is finding mainly in sedimentary rocks, like limestones, marls or clayey rocks. It belongs to the class of sulphides. Marcasite at increased temperatures undergoes irreversibly in pyrite, because it is a impermanent form of pyrite. Marcasite and pyrite are polymorphic variants of iron sulfide. It has a brass-yellow color with a greenish tinge and a metallic sheen.
Delusive, sneaky, deceptive, uncertain ... What makes sphalerite deserved such adjectives? For a very long time, geologists couldn’t identify this mineral. Finally, the study confirmed that it is a zinc ore.
This is a miner's oil lamp with a wick. In the second half of the eighteenth century, miners began using tin oil lamps, which were mostly fuelled by oil mixed with kerosene.
The sculpture was carved in green salt and represents Saint Barbara. The figure stands on a cubic pedestal.
The earliest source of confirmation regarding use of oil lamps in the Wieliczka Mine dates back to the beginning of the 16th century, but there are no exact data on the shape and material from which they were made. Probably, two types of oil lamps were used: clay – to be held in the hand or adapted to be placed on a flat surface; and metal – with a hook for carrying and hanging, connected with a container for tallow. The shapes of both types are similar – pear-shaped and vertical.
Mine carts, called Hungarian dogs, appeared in the Wieliczka excavations at the end of the 18th century, and they were put into operation by the Austrian partition authorities, to whom the mine belonged at that time. The rather funny name of these transport devices is most likely related to the sounds made by their wheels while moving.
Everyone knows the monumental painting Battle of Grunwald by Jan Matejko. Spectacular in its size, it shows very dynamic scenery, full of bodies of knights, warriors and horses. Only after a while, the spectator is able to spot the central scene – the Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights, sitting on a white horse...
Sculptures made in salt are typical of mines in Wieliczka and Bochnia. In our portal they are represented by images of St. Kinga and St. Barbara. Salt is a difficult material. It is softer and more flexible than stone; however, on the other hand, salt blocks may have invisible cracks...
In the Austrian Empire, officials, including miners, carried ceremonial sabres with their uniforms. The situation was different on the territory of Prussia, where mining epees were obligatory. After Poland regained its independence, a single pattern of mining uniform was adopted. Mining is concentrated in Upper Silesia; therefore, the dress code came to include epees. This has been the case up until today.
One of the legends of the town of Olkusz, passed down by generations, tells the story of the silver mines, to which the town owed its prosperity. One day, the devil decided to fill up the excavations that were so valuable for the inhabitants of the region.
Sphalerite is a zinc blende; and galena, is a lead sulfide (lat. galena means lead ore), both are common minerals from the class of sulphide.
Because of the fact that in the salt mines of the Kraków region, i.e. salt mines in Wieliczka and Bochnia, salt lies deep underground, it was excavated through shafts by using the right tools, like devices with a horizontal drive shaft (windlass), handwheels, treadwheels (internal and external), devices with a vertical drive shaft (cross, water-mill), devices with a vertical-horizontal drive shaft (gear mill with a winding reel, gear mill with two winding reels, gear mill with a brake drum) and braking devices.