Panská skála National Nature Monument

The Panská skála NNM is an attractive and extremely popular geological site, which is known locally as the “stone organ pipes” and is a unique example of columnar jointing of basalt rock. The rock columns were among the first to be protected in the Czech Republic as the first attempts to protect the “Organ Pipe Rocks” can be dated to the end of the 19th century. The protected area lies close to the town of Kamenický Šenov in the Liberecký kraj – Liberec Region and was declared in 1953 on an area of 1.3 hectares and lies at elevations of 560-597 metres above sea level.
 
The Panská skála rocks are the preserved remains of a volcanic plug built of nephelinite tephrite, which is a basaltic rock of Miocene age. The original volcanic plug reached up to 50 metres below the level of the surrounding sediments, which were lifted by the volcanic magma and helped to give the locality its current appearance. Secondary denudation then uncovered the contours of the body of rock. The lava body was then uncovered by quarrying works which were carried out from the mid 19th to mid 20th centuries. The formation is built of a large number of almost vertical columns which are up to 7 metres in height.
 
Columnar jointing is a typical quality of younger volcanic rocks and is connected with the contraction of the magma as it cooled and solidified. The columns are oriented perpendicular to the cooling surface. Most of the columns are five-sided or six-sided in profile, or exceptionally with more or less sides. Several similar “organ pipe” basalt rock formations can be found in the České středohoří Mountains and the neighbouring Lužické hory Mountains but the Panská skála NNM is the most representative example.
 
The locality is not of botanical or zoological importance. The monument includes a small pool in a depression in the former quarry which is filled by rainwater.
 
Panská skála NNM dominates the landscape around Kamenický Šenov and is used for scientific and educational purposes. The monument suffers from high visitor numbers. Opportunist trees and bushes and weathering products are cleared from the rock formation every few years. Visitor trails and information panels are also maintained.