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The geological wealth of the Cyclades

What impresses the most a traveller while approaching an island of  Cyclades, is its rocky and barren-treeless ground. Most Cycladic islands are mountainous, with high or low mountain ranges. Among them, small plains take shape, usually not enough for cultivation - a rugged landscape, imposing and beautiful, where a worldwide unique culture was born.

An ancient Greek fable says that the islands of the Cyclades were created at the terrible "War of the giants", from the enormous rocks that were thrown against each other by the Giants and the gods. This is the mythological version of the geological realignments that took place at the creation of the Cyclades and the other islands of the Aegean.

15 million years ago, the mainland of Greece, Asia Minor, the Aegean and the Cretan Sea constituted a extensive region of land (Aigiida). During the Pleocene period (4,5-2,5 million of years ago), Aigiida regions of  became submerged in the sea, apart from mountains's tops , which constituted the islands of the Aegean. Repeated geological changes, locomotion’s of the earths crust, earthquakes, explosions of volcanoes, gave in the island cluster the form that it has today. Entire islands - Santorini, Milos, Kimolos- and a part of Antiparos were shaped by the volcanic activity which created the island arch of the Southern Aegean. This happened by the sinking of the African Plate under the Aegean Plate. The age of these volcanoes is about 4 million years.
The history of the geological creation of the Cyclades, explains the enormous geological wealth, where each island presents an impressive and completely separate relief and includes monuments with enormous geological but also paleontological, archaeological and historical interest.  The volcanic craters in Milos and Antimilos, the caldera of Santorini and the crater at Nea Kameni, the volcanic vein of Thirasia, the caverns of Irakleia, Naxos, Serifos, Antiparos, Folegandros, the shockingly oversized monolith of Kalamos in Anafi, the Eklogites in Syros, the mushroom like forms of erosion and the hot sources in Kimolos, the hot baths in Kythnos, the fossils of dwarfs elephants in Naxos and Delos and the ancient mines in Serifos are such examples. The highest mountain of  Cyclades is the mountain Zefs in Naxos, with an altitude of 1004 metres.

The geological shaping of islands interprets also the impressive morphology of their coasts. The vertical bent of rocks, hundreds of metres above the sea takes your breath (Monastery of Chozoviotissa in Amorgos, Town of Sikinos, Town of Folegandros). In other places the coast is dismembered in innumerable gulfs, where volcanic activity and erosion by the wind and the sea have created shapes of infrequent beauty, marine caves and strange rock formations - Kolymbithres in Paros, Smaragdenia Cave, Glaronisia, Kleftiko and Venetsianes in Milos, the beaches of Santorini with the black or red sand, or with the yellow, smoothed rocks that form natural sculptures and small caves.

The treeless islands of Cyclades, with the rocky and barren grounds, hide nevertheless a very important mining wealth - one of the most important causes for the growth, already from the ancient years, of trade and navigation, was the transport of the flint stone of Milos to all Aegean. Thus in Milos, heavy spar, perlite, mbetonite and pozolani, are still mined. Layers of manganese, chromite and asbestos exist in Andros. Minerals of iron exist in Kea, Kythnos, Serifos and Syros. Minerals of iron and silver lead In Siphnos. Marbles are excavated in Tinos and Paros. Marbles and emery are excavated In Naxos, granite in Mykonos, Bauxite in Amorgos, zinc In Donousa and chalk in Kimolos. Small sources of water exist throughout almost all the islands, with more appreciable for the needs of the people the ones in Andros, Naxos, Ios, Paros and Tinos.

List of geological monuments of the Cyclades

Island     Geological Monuments
ANDROS     Courgated transformed rocks, rock formations of erosion in the place of Grias Pidima in Korthi, Valley Dipotamata
TINOS     Spherical structures of erosion and geomorfes Tafoni in the Granitis of Tinos
NAXOS     Geological Museum of Apiranthos, Small dams of enrichment of underground water of Apiranthos, Mines of emery, compound rocks in northern Naxos, Dios cave, Fossils of dwarf elephants
KYTHNOS     Katafyki Cave, Hot baths
IRAKLIA     Saint Ioannis Cave
SYRA     Aerolites: Eklogites of northern Syros
MYKONOS     Granite of Mykonos - Forms of erosion, Htapodia island - petrified invertebrates
DELOS     Petrified dwarf elephant
MILOS     Volcanic structures: Volcanic craters of Fyriplaka - Trachila, Volcanic cource at Profitis Ilias, Quarries: Ancient quarries of flint stone, flint stone Quarry in the location of "Nyhia", flint stone Quarry in the location of "Demenegaki", Mines: Sulphur mines, Mines of iron-manganese in the location of Bani, Caves: Caves and marine ravines at Papafragas, Cave of Saint Ioannis - "Smaragdenia cave", Catacombs, Forms of erosion: Kleftiko, Sarakiniko, Hydrothermal presence:  craters in the location of Saint Theodoros, steamers of Kalamos, Mining Museum of Milos
GLARONISIA     Column like lava creations
ANTIMILOS     Impressive volcanic crater
SERIFOS     Koutala Cave, Ancient mines
SIFNOS     Ancient silver mines, layers of lead-zinc and gold
PAROS     Marble quarries, Ancient quarries of the famous Parian marble, Kolymbithres (forms of erosion)
ANTIPAROS, DESPOTICO ISLAND -
STROGILO ISLAND     Volcanic coueces of Antiparos - Volcanic appearances at Despotico island and Strogilo island, Oliartos Cave, Mining galleries
KIMOLOS     Masroom like forms of erosion, Rocky coasts - Geological sections of volcanic rocks, volcanic forms of erosion, Rocks in the Prassa region, Forms of erosion in Kissiri, Cave of Gerakias, Petrified invertebrates, Hot sources
THIRA (SANTORINI)     Volcanic group of Santorini, Volcanic crater - Caldera - Natural sections of caldera, Layers of Minoan explosion, Volcanic vein (dyke) Thirasia, Modern volcanic activity- Kammeni, Triadika fossils of Megalodon, Petrified flora
FOLEGANDROS     Chrysospilia
IOS     Granite 300 millions of years
AMORGOS     Active crack of Amorgos (earthquake 1956)
More in this category: « The Fauna Of The Cyclades
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