The Geology of the Taygetos Mountains


Greece information the very best stage of seismic exercise in Europe, and is an space the place the geology is younger and dynamic. Earthquakes are a frequent incidence, and have formed the course of Greek civilisation and tradition. Titanic, subterranean forces have moulded some fascinating and distinctive geological options, sculpting rugged mountain ranges and precipitous, tumbling valleys.


200 million years in the past, the realm that may turn out to be Greece lay below the Tethys Ocean, trapped between the traditional super-continents of Pangaea and Laurasia. Through the Triassic and Cretaceous intervals, calciferous marine organisms died and sank to the sea-floor, steadily forming thick sedimentary deposits of dolomite and limestone.

As these two super-continents rotated in direction of one another, the whole Tethys Ocean was subjected to sluggish and irresistible strain. The massive stresses attributable to this gradual squeezing deformed the earth’s crust, and led to a gentle uplifting and buckling of the sedimentary rocks. Intense warmth and strain metamorphosed the father or mother limestone and sandstone, into marble and quartzite, respectively.

This large space of uplifting stretches from the Alps by way of to the mountains of Iran, all of that are, geologically talking, very younger ranges. The boundary areas of those tectonic plates are complicated and changeable; Greece occupies the Hellenic plate, which is slowly stretching, in a north-east/south-west course. This micro-plate is spreading out over the descending African plate to the south-east, and the Turkish plate to the east.

The underlying geology is extraordinarily complicated, and the spreading Hellenic plate has created a sequence of horsts and grabens. These kind the spine of the realm, giving rise to the jagged mountains and steep sided valleys. Fixed kneading, and squeezing, of the bedrock has prompted excessive ranges of tectonic and volcanic exercise within the space, influencing the underlying material of Greek tradition and historical past.

For instance, the volcanic explosion of c1644 BC, at Thera (Santorini), destroyed the classy Minoan civilization on Crete. Historic Sparta was levelled, in 464, and the aftermath of this destruction led to the primary Peloponnesian struggle towards Athens. Extra not too long ago, Kalamata suffered severe injury in 1986, necessitating a whole rebuild of the town.


The complicated uplifting of the entire Jap Mediterranean fashioned the inspiring mountains of the Peloponnese, and the realm is crossed by a posh net of inter-connected fault-lines. Gradual deformation of the Hellenic plate has created many localised faults inside the peninsula, which continually slip and shear. The Taygetos and Parnonas Mountains are giant horsts, with deep grabens on both facet. Thus, the mighty Taygetos vary is sandwiched by two faults, inflicting the big tremors that frequent the realm.


As a result of its turbulent geological historical past, the Taygetos Mountains possess some attention-grabbing rock formations, consisting primarily of limestone and dolomite, fashioned when the realm was below the Tethys ocean. Veins of quartz are embedded inside this matrix, and lots of quartz primarily based crystals are discovered within the space, together with citrine and amethyst.

The Parnonas mountains, on the opposite facet of the Evrotas Valley, comprise Lapis Lacedaemonium, a uncommon kind of serpentine porphyry discovered solely across the village of Krokees. This semi-precious stone was one of many main exports of Historic Sparta, and was extensively quarried by the Romans, who used it to adorn their villas and public buildings.


The Diros caverns, close to Areopolis, are one of many longest cave techniques in Greece, and are common with informal vacationers and speleologists alike. This hidden gem is ranked because the third most necessary cave system on this planet, . The cave system itself was identified in historic occasions, and was known as an entrance to the underworld.

The sheer extent and scale of the caves was first found by I. Petrocheilos and his spouse, Anna, in 1949. 1971 noticed the beginning of a scientific cave diving and mapping course of, and this analysis continues to be ongoing. The explored size of the community is 6.2 km, however there’s a large quantity nonetheless to be uncovered. Scientists consider that the entire Peloponnese peninsula is honeycombed with an enormous, and interconnected, community of caves.

The Diros caves are extraordinarily lovely, containing many attention-grabbing rock-formations and a sequence of awe-inspiring caverns. The Glyfada River runs by way of the calcium carbonate rocks, carving out a mess of channels, and sculpting cathedral-like caverns. Regular infiltration by rainwater, when the river stage was decrease, created many lovely and attention-grabbing stalagmite and stalactite formations.


It’s not possible to go to the Taygetos area with out noticing the pyramidal Mount Taygetos. The mountain really consists of 5 peaks, identified domestically because the Pentedaktylos(5 Fingers),and the very best, Prophet Ilias, rises to 2410 metres. The mountain is an imposing sight, and looms ominously over the town of Sparta.

Taygetos was the location the place Historic Sparta executed criminals, cruelly throwing transgressors to their dying. Typically the height glistens within the solar, at different occasions a blanket of clouds caresses the summit. All through the winter, it’s lined in a layer of pure, white snow, the pyramid standing out starkly towards the crisp blue sky.

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