The Main Ostrava Whetstone: Composition, Sedimentary Processes, Palaeogeography and Geochronology of a Major Mississippian Volcaniclastic Unit of the Upper Silesian Basin (Poland and Czech Republic)

Document Type


Publication Date



The Main Ostrava Whetstone (MOW) is an important lithostratigraphic horizon of the Late Carboniferous sedimentary fill of the late Palaeozoic foreland Upper Silesian Basin. It is the largest and best-identified volcanogenic horizon in the basin, reaching thicknesses of 15.3 m and occupying an area of ca 2,973 km2 and a volume after lithification of 9.24 km3. It consists of volcanic materials transported to the basin probably by an aeolian process. Just after sedimentation, these materials were redeposited a short distance away in a shallow water environment. Granularity corresponds to a range from argillaceous siltstones to fine-grained sandstones. The components are dominated by glass shards replaced by clay minerals (mixed illite–smectite structures) in addition to quartz of volcanogenic and terrigenous origins. Sanidine and a plagioclase close to albite are also present. The sedimentary structures, micro-structures and composition of the MOW indicate variable and dynamic hydrodynamic conditions. The MOW represents a series of flooding events, which could be connected with unusual rainfall. Such major flooding events were most likely induced by volcanic eruptions. The available drill-core log data were used to construct a digital model of the whetstone, which showed an east–west zonality in the thicknesses, with the majority being synsedimentary. CA-TIMS U–Pb dating the volcanogenic zircons yields an age of 327.35 ± 0.15 Ma. The source location of the volcanogenic material is not clear; however, it is presumed to have been located in the west of the Upper Silesian Basin.