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The Geological Structure of Mount Olympus

First, Mr Arzanas explains in the video beside how the summit of Mount Olympus, Mytikas, came to his name.

Listen to the whole conversation with Mr Arzanas:

The Chronology of Genesis

About 150 million years ago, during the Jurassic period, Greece was part of the Kimmerian continent, comprised of the Apulian and Rhodopian Continent and the Tethys and Palaiotethys Ocean.

Click on the pictures to enlarge them

By the shift of the from Africa coming Kimmerian and the Apulian continental plates against the European Rhodopian Plate before 130 million years (Cretaceous period) a new country formed. These plates displaced the Palaiotethys Ocean, and formed Italy and western Greece by towering the land mass.

40 million years ago, the pressure of the Apulian plate continued unabated, the underwater masses were piled up under high pressure at low temperature. The Apulian and the Rhodopian plate united by the unabated pressure of the African plate. These green stones are found today both west of Mount Olympus in the region of the river Aliakmonas and in the east in the region of Leptokarya These stones seem to arouse the interest of scientists from all over the world. They are regarded as the proof that the tectonic plates move.

30 million years ago Olympus began to rise. For this purpose, rock masses were pushed upwards by the disappeared Palaiotethys Ocean. So it is that today you can find petrified marine animals at an altitude of about 1500 meters. These fossils once lived in the sand, but this was strongly compressed by the shifting of the continents. This resulted in sandstone, in which the fossils were enclosed (sediment stones). These sandstones were stoned by further pressure to limestones, the sea animals enclosed in them. The oldest are 245 million years - the most recent 208 million years old.

The current summit of Mytikas peak is 2918.8 meters. And the mountain massif is still being raised. The Olymp continues to grow by 1 to 4 millimeters per year.

We call the Olympus a tectonic window that leads us into the past.
And in fact, there are still tectonic changes in Litochoro, in the Enipea Gorge, by shifting rock layers against each other. This occasionally leads to earthquakes. Only some time ago (2013 or 2014) was a tremor of the strength of 3.4, whose origin was in this tectonic activity in Litochoro.

But not only tectonics is responsible for movements in the underground of Greece and of Olympus.
To get a complete picture, one must also deal with the second component: the volcanoes. In Greece there are 42 volcanoes. Many of them are very old and are currently resting. But 15 of them are more or less active. Like a belt, the volcanoes move from the Greek border to Macedonia, to Bulgaria and Turkey to islands in the Aegean Sea. But there are also volcanoes at Volos in Central Greece or near Athens. The Souzaki drew the attention of the Athenians through sulfur smell and fumes. It formed a hill and consists of a number of holes around which sulfur crystals have deposited. We continue to the islands of Methana, Milos and, of course, Santorini, which, as well as Nisiros, is known to have the strongest volcanic activity of the eastern Mediterranean. But this is not enough: some time ago, 15 other volcanoes have been discovered on the sea bottom near Milos, the largest of them with a diameter of three kilometers.

But away from the volcanoes and back to Mount Olympus In the last two million years, there were five ice ages. The last of them, the Würm Ice Age, lasted about 100,000 years and ended 10 to 15,000 years ago. The immense masses of ice, among which the mountain massif was then buried, carried rocks during the melting process from the summit region, which are now found at the foot of the mountain. Thus also peculiar stones were formed, the ground of which was "grounded" straight from mountain to valley, while the upper part was rounded. As in other mountains, which are over 2000 m high, the retreating ice has shaped valleys in the form of a U. The erosion, caused by melting the glaciers, gave the Olympus its present form. Its appearance has not changed much in the past few thousand years.

In 2011, scientists from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki undertook the summit region and found there 20 horizontal and vertical caves. Underneath is a 26 meter deep cave containing a large ice block. This ice block is so protected there that it does not melt even in the summer.

As mentioned, there are abundant fossils in the mountainous region around 1500 m. They are mainly shellfish. They are located in the limestone, which was built in the Jura. But also a small fish can be seen, which was found in the area of Elassona.

    A heartfelt thanks to Mr Arzanas. He has sacrificed many hours of his time to help create this article. Anyone interested in the subject will be welcomed daily from 10 am to 9 pm in the museum or can find detailed information on the Museum's website .



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