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amber formation and history

The History and Process of Amber Formation

Let’s go back 40 million years to the birth of this extraordinary mineral: amber. At the time when our story begins, the Baltic Sea had yet to form. Yet in the very place that the sea would eventually fill, an amber forest grew…

The Amber Trees…

Today, we believe that what we know of and treasure as amber was originally formed from the resin of pine trees. The amber resin accumulated below the bark and inside the trunks of ancient pine trees in areas of tissue damage. As it leaked out of the trunks, the resin solidified. The trees themselves used this resin to protect themselves and heal from wounds. Eventually, after lying beneath the water for many millions of years, the resin fossilized and became a beautiful amber stone.

Natural Disruption…

When amber was made, the natural world roiled with earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. These volatile events knocked the amber trees down. Over time, earth and ash covered the fallen trees, leading to the formation of the first Baltic amber deposits. These deposits came to be known as the gold of the Baltic Sea. (All amber deposits created after these initial historical moments are considered secondary deposits.)

After the amber trees fell, heavy rains carried pieces of the resinous trees to streams and rivers. These in turn transported the amber even further afield…

Amber Deposits Today…

Finally, the primary amber deposits washed out of the trees and were deposited in the Eridan delta and the shallow Eocene sea (modern day Gdansk Bay). Thanks to this phenomenon, huge deposits of amber formed in the so-called “blue land” from Karwia to the Sambia Peninsula (Kaliningrad Oblast). The largest amber deposits in the world lie at a depth of 5-30 meters in the Kaliningrad Oblast. Yet more have been found 120 meters underground in ​​Chłapowo (Gdansk Bay). Even more exciting still, due to the history of amber formation, huge deposits–a veritable amber kingdom–could still remain hidden at the bottom of the Baltic Sea (but we will probably have to wait many years for that discovery!).