Archive for Greek Island
In 2011 all of Lesbos was declared a UNESCO Geopark due the work of Nikos Zouros of the Museum of Natural History in Sigri in cooperation with numerous government agencies and the Municipality of Lesbos.
There are just over 90 Geoparks in the world. Geopark designation is given for: “A territory encompassing one or more sites of scientific importance, not only for geological reasons but also by virtue of its archaeological, ecological or cultural value.” To keep the designation as a Geopark, the people of Lesbos and their elected leaders must show that they understand the heritage of the island and intend to protect it and make it accessible to tourists.
Lesbos has been designated a Geopark because of its geological history. Mount Olympos, the mountain where Agiassos is located, was thrust up from under the sea, along with the Alps, about 200 million years ago. This was during the time when the continents split apart from a single continent known as Pangaia. As Mount Olympos was formed of plankton under the sea, it is made up of soft marl or marble-like rock.
In contrast the whole Northwest part of the island was created between 22 million and 16 million years ago during massive volcanic explosions that formed the Aegean Sea. At that time Lesbos was connected to the mainland of Asia Minor, from which it separated only about 1 million years ago. Evidence of the volcanic explosions can also be found across the channel that now separates Lesbos from Turkey. The village of Assos, in Turkey, which can be seen from Sikamina, is built of the same type of volcanic stone used to build in Molivos.
Mount Lepetemos which towers over Molivos and Petra may have been one of the largest volcanoes the world has ever seen. Moliovos itself was a small volcanic mountain. Lava flows can still be seen in many parts of the village. The stones that were used to build the castle and the traditional buildings in Molivos are porous volcanic stone.
The rock on which the church of Petra was built was a vein of molten rock that was thrusting itself up from under the earth. It never exploded but remained in the center of a small mountain. Over time, the softer rock of the outer part of the mountain wore away, exposing the volcanic core. The monastery known as Ipsilos at the juncture of the roads to Eressos and Sigri is built on a larger exposed volcanic core. The village of Vatoussa is at the center of the crater of another very large volcano that exploded many times shaping the island as we know it today.
The volcanoes of Lesbos sometimes sent out masses of lava flow that might have taken as much as 10,000 years to cool. These flows can be seen in the shapes of the island’s mountains and hills. Other times the volcanoes threw out large boulders and great clouds of dust. Everything in the path of lava flows is burned up. But when volcanic dust settles on living things such as trees, their forms may be preserved. In Lesbos the Petrified Forest was created because dust fell at levels of several meters. Our Petrified Forest uniquely has trees still in place in the landscape with their roots, trunks, and even branches, showing exactly where they were living some 20 million years ago.
Visitors can learn more about the geological history of Lesbos in the context of the geological history of the planet at the Museum of Natural History in Sigri. A part of the Petrified Forest has been excavated on the museum grounds. There are also a series of signs called “The Lava Path” along the road from Filia to Sigri which explain the volcanic landmarks visible from the signposts. They are well-worth stopping to read as they tell an amazing story.
Carol P. Christ (Καρολινα Κριστ) is Vice President of Friends of Green Lesbos which has been working for years to protect the wetlands of Lesbos. In 2012 she ran for Greek National Parliament on the Green Party ticket in Lesbos-Limnos.
This is a lovely unspoilt Greek village on the island of Lesvos called Molyvos. The perfect place to come a have your unforgettable holiday