Upper Silesian Coal Field

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Upper Silesian Coal Field


in Poland and Czechoslovakia. The area of the Polish part is about 4,500 sq km. The southern portion is in Czechoslovakia and bears the name Ostrava-Karviná Basin (area 950 sq km). In coal output (128.6 million tons in 1968 in Poland and 25.9 million tons in Czechoslovakia) and in geological reserves (94.6 billion tons to a depth of 1,000 m; including balancing reserves of 30 billion tons), it is one of the largest in Europe. The field consists of a large hollow; in the northern portions and in some places in the western portions coal-bearing deposits of the Carboniferous period emerge on the surface; in the central and southern portions they descend to a depth of over 1,000 m and are unconformably covered over with Mesozoic and Cenozoic deposits.

The industrial coal-bearing portion has a total thickness of 4-5 km and is composed of sandstones, shales, limestones, and seams of coal; it is divided into three series: the Ostrava series and saddle series of the Namurian stage and the trough series of the Westphalian stage. Each of them is subdivided into several suites. As a result of repeatedly occurring manifestations of volcanism in post-Carboniferous times, intrusions, veins, and covers of basalts, porphyrites, and melaphyres were intruded into the coal-bearing deposits. The northwestern portion is distinguished by a more complex tectonic structure: numerous folds are broken by faults; a broad band of similar faults goes through the northern portion of the central region, where a series of stepwise faults with an amplitude of almost 200 m has developed.

In degree of coal-bearing capacity, the Upper Silesian coal field is numbered among the richest. It has over 450 beds and seams of coal; of these, 98 beds in the western portion are of workable thickness; in the eastern portion such beds are fewer. The usual thickness of the beds is 1.5-2.0 m, but a few attain a thickness of 7-9 m and even 24 m.

There is a complete range of grades of coal—from long-flame coal through poor; for the most part it is classified as high-quality coal having a low content of moisture, ash, and (for the majority of beds) sulfur and giving good metallurgical coke.


Matveev, A. K. Ugol’nye mestorozhdeniia zarubezhnykh stran. Moscow, 1966.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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