Kobielnik – smell of oil near Kraków


It is clearly visible that spring is coming to Poland so it is very difficult to sit by the computer and not to enjoy the sun and beautiful weather. That is one of the reasons of long brake in posts publishing.

I wanted to share with you one location nearby Kraków so if you love geology and you live in Kraków or plan to visit this city you can go for a short trip outside of town. What I have in mind is Kobielnik village approximately 50 km from the city of Kraków. From the geological point of view going there you will be driving within one of the Carpathian thrust sheets.


Silesian Nappe, this is how it is called this geological structure, has its outcrop in the village of Kobielnik. Geological formations are exposed there eroded by the stream. Silesian Nappe is known to be the most prolific hydrocarbon structure in Polish part of Carpathians. This is the structure from which most of the 100-year old oilfields in the southern Poland were producing oil and gas.

Outcrop location was marked on a map attached above but generally if you will drive the main road you should spot a bridge on a stream and if you follow this stream you will find the wall of exposed flysch formations (sand/shale sequences).

Yes, this is outcrop of the famous menilite shale from which the oil in Carpathians was generated (after millions of years of burial and heating).

On the pictures you can see that the outcrop is strongly deformed, which is normal feature in Carpathians (sorry for the images quality – I took them using a mobile which was not to modern). Layers are almost vertical and maybe you can see some cracks and faults. But what is the most interesting  are rock properties!

When you smash the dark shale with a hammer (or other harder rock if you don’t have a hammer) you can sense the smell of oil!

Some descriptions of this outcrop say that even you should see oil droplets on the fresh crack (I haven’t found any nice examples to be honest with you). Below are photos from the article.

Well, probably this is not the most exciting thing to see in your life but if you are visiting southern Poland (Kraków neigbourhood), you love petroleum geology and history of the industry of this part of the World and you are driving south from Kraków maybe you might make a short stop in Kobielnik and you will like it:)

In this post I used photos and map from Geoturism journal. You can find it below:



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