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Mining and hydrological transformations in Upper Silesia from the fifteenth to the nineteenth century

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This paper analyses the influence of mining on hydrological conditions in Upper Silesia from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries. The perturbation of local hydrological conditions began in the fifteenth century as a result of wide-scale mining of iron, silver and lead ores. Further changes took place during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, following the application of gravitational mine drainage. As a result, a compact cone of depression, covering an area of about three square kilometres was created. In the eighteenth century, the activities of mills, sawmills and smelters caused considerable changes in the surface river network and created the so-called anthropogenic Upper Silesian Lakeland. At the end of the eighteenth century, underground mining activity was renewed and as a result the area of the compact cone of depression increased to ten square kilometres and its depth reached 50 metres.
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Keywords: Poland; Upper Silesia; hydrological conditions; mining

Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: Department of Physical Geography, University of Silesia, Be¸dzińska 60, 41-200 Sosnowiec, Poland

Publication date: 01 March 2001

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