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Baltic amber Succinite

12 April 2020

In the Eocene, there was a shallow sea in some areas of today’s Poland. The sea was adjacent to the Fennoscandia, a scientific name for the ancient continent. It was the place where, in a humid and warm tropical climate, the amber forest – the cradle of Baltic amber – grew. It was mainly covered by ancient coniferous species – the ancestors of today’s spruces, firs, pines, as well as larches, redwoods, and cedars.


Fragments of the local forest mulch, pieces of plants, butterflies, spiders, arthropods as well as other insects or even small reptiles such as lizards were caught inside the flowing resin. They stayed trapped in the resin forever. They can be admired today as unusual curiosities in Baltic amber. The inclusions are very previous for scientists. Thanks to them, it is possible to examine and further explore the evolutionary processes of various species.

In the case of Baltic amber, it is difficult to determine the mother plant – the source of resin. Some researchers claim that it could have been an extinct balsamic pine, also known as an amber-bearing tree. Others believe that it was created from the resin of the tree species of the family of pine-tree of the genus Larch.


Baltic amber is also known as succinite. It was created about 40 million years ago. It occurs most often on the southern coast of the Baltic Sea: in Russia, Poland, Germany, Denmark, but also can be found in Lithuania, Latvia, and Ukraine. In Poland, its sources can be found in the Hel Spit, the Vistula Spit, the Gulf of Gdańsk, Kurpie, as well as in Lubartów.

The conditions of the local areas favored the development of vegetation, which was lush and dense. The trees of that time intensively resinated. It is believed that it was the effect of high volcanic activity and air pollution. In the areas of cracks and tissue damages, the flowing resin acted as a protective layer. By emitting a sticky substance, the trees defended themselves against the ingress of microbes, parasites and the harmful effects of the atmosphere. The resin accumulated in large cracks in the bark or even inside the trunks. Flowing outside, it formed infiltrates in a form of icicles or drops.