Usually mining is not very kind to landscape, however, strip mining on the slope of Csárda-hegy revealed unmatched rock formations. The stairs to a narrow trail in the rock guide us to the past of geology.
On the outskirts of Úrkút a huge pit yawns in the deep. The „Jurassic Park" of Csárda-hegy is a trail of varied rock formations leading into the belly of the hill. We do not need to dive underground as strip mining manganese opened up this attraction. Fortunately, explosives were not used so the remnants from the Mesozoic Era were preserved.
The landforms of Úrkút resemble the cone karst formations of South China and Cuba for a reason because these rocks were formed in a humid tropical climate. Humid climate has a drastic effect on limestone bedrock as solubility in water and weak acid solutions result in large holes and pits. These pits called ponors entrapped manganese ore transported probably by water flows.
Later in the Eocene Epoch the area was flooded by the sea and got covered with various sediments (clay and limestone). It was just in the 20th century that mining activity revealed the ancient formations under this protective cap.
The local manganese ore deposit was discovered in the late 19th century but mining began only in 1920. Fortunately, the significance of the ancient karst formations was soon recognized and the area gained a protected status in 1953.
Walking among these huge round rocks is quite a bizarre and unmatched experience. And yet it is not a dead environment as moss and lichen inhabit the chilly gap. Although the ancient karst is 100 million years old the rocks show imprints of prehistoric sea animals living 190 million years ago.
The walls are scattered with red iron oxide cover. A 10-meter high fault plane, along which rock layers fractured and slipped, is also a part of the protected area.