Euroregion Elbe/Labe

Zlatý vrch

Impressive basalt columns in former quarries

The Zlatý vrch (Gold Hill, 657 m) and the neighbouring, somewhat smaller Stříbrný vrch (Silver Hill, 599 m) are two basalt cones in which basalt columns were once broken. Today the quarries are closed. Since 2002 the nature trail "Okolím Studence" has been leading past it.

Zlatý vrch is a striking hilltop on whose south-eastern slope a quarry was probably established around 1870. The basalt columns exposed in it were well developed and only slightly shattered, so that it was possible to break up to 6 m long pieces here. Because of the great resistance of basalt to seawater, they are said to have been exported to Holland to build piers. The quarry was originally divided into two floors, in which the length of the almost vertically rising columns reached up to 18 m.

About 200 m southwest of the Zlatý vrch, separated from it by a flat saddle, is the lower and less impressive Stříbrný vrch with a similar geological structure. It has also got a large, long abandoned quarry on its slope, where up to 10 m long basalt columns are combined into beautiful fan-like groups. Today only short fragments of imperfectly developed columns can be seen in the quarry wall. In the lower right part of the quarry, tufa-like rocks are exposed, which may represent a part of the vent in which basaltic lava had risen to the surface in the Tertiary.

In 1940, mining was stopped in both quarries and they were declared natural monuments. However, before the end of the 2nd World War, quarrying operations restarted and continued after 1945. For the second time, the Zlatý vrch was put under nature protection in 1964, but this time without the Stříbrný vrch. The breaking of the columns continued in the following years until the lower level of the quarry was completely dismantled. The breaking of the columns finally stopped on November 27, 1973, when mining had progressed so far that a uniform quarry wall with fully developed basalt columns up to 30 m long was achieved. This wall gives a more magnificent sight than the much more famous Panská skála (Manor House Rock) near Kamenický Šenov.

The basalt mass of the Zlatý vrch was formed at least in three different phases of volcanic activity. The oldest basalt forms the lying mass, which is only found in the northern part of the quarry. An elongated depression was formed in this lying mass, which later filled the younger lava of the main complex. This created a lava lake whose basaltic lava cooled and solidified very slowly and uniformly. In this body, regularly developed pentagonal and hexagonal, up to 30 m long, slender columns were formed. In the centre of this body, the columns are almost vertical, towards the edges they gradually become slanted, forming something like a huge fan. The horizontal surface of this column complex probably represents the original free surface of the lava lake.
After solidification, this column basalt body was covered by a blanket of the youngest basalt, which cooled relatively quickly and therefore solidified only to irregular and imperfectly formed columns. This basalt now forms the summit rocks and its debris covers the adjacent parts of the slopes.



405 02 Česká Kamenice


You can travel by bus to the stop "Česká Kamenice, Líska, hor." directions_railway directions_bus at road 263. From there it is about 750 m on foot.

You can also park there.

(This is an automatic translation by Google Translator.)