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Crumbs of knowledge
Sól, solić, solanka, solniczka, słonina, słota, but also rosół (or rozsół, that is, simply speaking, salted water). Salt not only enriched the flavour of food, but the purse of a merchant trading in it. In German Salz, in Greek hals. Vitae sal amicita – Friendship is the salt of life as Romans proclaimed in the past.
As the Polish saying has it – to know somebody, you must eat a barrel of salt together and, after all, it is work that is the salt of life. Salt has been an inseparable companion of humankind, however, this sentence can be reversed. After all, it is so much older than the humankind itself. The salt in Wieliczka is nearly fourteen million years old. It falls in the category of Miocene salt-bearing series consisting of rock salt deposits and (to a significantly smaller degree) potassium-magnesium salts. They stretch along the arch of the Carpathians, starting in the area of Silesia to carry on as far as the Iron Gate region of Romania.
The Wieliczka salt deposit was formed over thousands of years as a result of multiple processes. It has a diversified and unique geological structure.
The deposit is formed of two different parts – the upper and the lower one. The upper block or lump deposit was formed as marly claystone and claystone with halite crystals (called zubry) with plugs of rock salt, known as green, located between them. The lower deposit consists of layers of rock salts alternating with interlayers of gangue – it is a bedded deposit.
To the south, the Wieliczka deposit borders with Carpathian flysh formations. Its northern limit and, partly, overburden consist of Machow formations (Chodenice layers). Subsalt rocks are Skawina formations (Skawina layers). The deposit is surrounded with the lagging of claystone and gypsum and covered with quaternary formations.
To the west, the Wieliczka deposit undergoes gradual transition into the Barycz deposit while in the east into the Sulkow deposit, tested only with boreholes.