NO-SERVICE INFORMATION STAND (BIS)
GPS: 49°51’25.89″ N, 16°0’31.73″ E
The open-air information system for the visitors of the Iron Mountains and for geotourists in the territory of the Iron Mountains PLA and the Iron Mountains National Geopark is structured into several levels. No-service information stands (BIS) are ranked among essential elements of this system. The choice of the site for BIS location is not an arbitrary one: the site must always meet many criteria representing one of the five themes contained in the logo of the “The Iron Mountains – a geologically significant regionˮ project and the Iron Mountains Geopark.
THE ELEVATION BETWEEN ZBOŽNOV AND ŠTĚPÁNOV NEAR SKUTEČ, WITH A GOOD VIEW OF THE SVATÁ ANNA VALLEY AND THE TOWN OF SKUTEČ, HAS BEEN CHOSEN FOR THE NO-SERVICE INFORMATION STAND FOCUSED ON THE MESOZOIC.
The site is located on the southern margin of the Bohemian Cretaceous Basin, near the contact between the Železné hory pluton in the southeast and the Hlinsko Paleozoic and Proterozoic (Hlinsko Zone) in the northeast. At this site, the Bohemian Cretaceous Basin is represented by the Peruc-Korycany Formation and the Bílá hora Formation, 60 to 80 m thick in total. These units are developed in the facies of calcareous siltstones and marlstones (opokas) and also glauconitic sandstones with occasional beds of sandy limestone. The freshwater to brackish cycle is characterized by light-coloured sandstones, with beds of conglomerate and dark claystone near the base. The Peruc-Korycany Formation in the Skuteč area typically features rapid facies variations, which reflect the complexity of pre-Cretaceous relief (embayments, local depressions and sea-floor elevations). The Železné hory pluton is represented by granitic rocks in a series of granite to quartz gabbro, being accompanied by basin intrusives – gabbros. Granitic rocks are exposed in a number of quarries, some of which are still in operation. The Hlinsko Paleozoic, falling within the regional geological unit of the Hlinsko Zone, comprises sediments of the series of graphitic shales, silicites, siltstones, greywackes and sandstones of Ordovician to Silurian age. At the contact with the granitic rocks, these sediments were contact-metamorphosed into knotted schists, chiastolitic schists to cordieritic hornfelses. In this respect, the Hlinsko area belongs to classical terrains with the development of a contact zone. Some rocks of the Hlinsko Paleozoic contain fossil organisms.
Pilgrimage in quest of the Mesozoic can be therefore best started at Štěpánov, Besides other qualities, it is an excellent far-view site. The view encompasses all three above mentioned regional geological units. In addition, the site provides an instructive view to the erosional valley of the Svatá Anna Stream (Svatoanenský potok) with its cuesta-like (stepped) relief. This valley is the withdrawal area supplying the town of Skuteč and its surroundings with water. This fact provides a logical transition to the discussion over hydrogeology (see Site 33 – a BIS stand at Podlažice): most groundwater is stored in the above discussed sediments of Mesozoic age.
The no-service information stand consists of a wooden structure with five panels generally expanding the theme of the Mesozoic. These panels also refer to nine geosites in the Iron Mountains with installed information panels reporting on closely accessible phenomena related to the times of the most extensive flooding by sea. These times left behind rich fauna in the sediments (ammonites, crustaceans, bivalves, sea sponges and shark teeth). Blocks of rocks from the territory of the Iron Mountains are scattered around the wooden structure, totalling 9 accessible samples from 6 sites. They include conglomerate, sandstone, sandy limestone, siltstone (opoka), marlstone and claystone containing flora and fauna. The blocks are mostly polished, and always provided with an information pillar. The pillars comment on the origin and composition of the rocks, and bear colour photomicrographs.
Structured information provided in the no-service information stand allows the visitors (geotourists) of the Iron Mountains to get easily orientated and make their choice among other sites.