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Volcanic Geotopes


Columnar lava formations of Pelopi

Impressive views of columns are found in the region of Pelopi. The rapid cooling of an intrusion of magma from the volcanic center of Lepetymnos led to the creation of these columnar forms.
Columnar lava formations of Ypsilometopo

One of most impressive volcanic rock formations in all of Lesvos is the columnar lava structures of Ypsilometopo. They resemble enormous columns, placed one next to the other as if by human hands instead of by the forces of nature. During a period of time roughly 20 million years ago, Lesvos was engulfed in intense volcanic paroxysms from the eruptions of many volcanoes. In this particular place, when the lava began to flow it had a temperature of around 1000 oC. However, it rapidly began to cool down, resulting in a quick temperature drop from the top to the bottom of the lava flow. This rapidly progressing temperature drop caused the development of fractures on the lava similar to those we see today on very dry soil. These fractures cross each other at an angle of 120 o while the intersection of several such fractures created regular hexagonal forms that give the lava the geometric structure we see today.

Volcanic formations of Antissa

Layers of volcanic ash and pumice characteristically alternating with horizons of pyroclastic flows cover an extensive area just before Antissa.  This viscous mix of ash, dust and sand dragged along large chunks of lava, which were products of the explosion of the volcano of Vatoussa.

Volcanic structures (veins and domes) of Eressos

The region of Eressos is also an astonishing landscape covered with a wide variety of volcanic structures. Impressive volcanic domes visibly protrude through the layers of pyroclastic flows that have almost covered the entire region. Features of a particular beauty are the alternations of volcanic layers, remnants of other times that today remind the visitor of the level of destruction caused by the intense volcanic activity that occurred in the region. Throughout the area, layers of pyroclastic flows alternate distinctly, while through them emerge lava which is more resistant to erosion. The crystalline limestones of the region also appear particularly impressive, since they have been penetrated and displaced by the lava.

Volcanic dome of Ordymnos – Columnar lava formations

The imposing volcanic dome of Ordymnos dominates western Lesvos, with its monastery of Saint Ioannis the Theologian built on the summit, also known as Moni Ipsilou. It is one of the most characteristic volcanic structures of Lesvos, with fascinating examples of magma intrusions through the older pyroclastic volcanic materials.

The volcanic dome of Moni Ipsilou was developed when hot magma slowly moved upward, penetrated the older geological layers, bent the layers of the preexisting pyroclastic rocks and created a giant dome. The magma was poor in gas and did not have the force to create an explosion and to shape a crater. As a result, the slowly upward moving lava cooled down and solidified at a relatively small depth from the ground surface.

Today, due to the erosion that removed the pyroclastic rocks surrounding it, this giant dome has been revealed and its peak is the highest point of western Lesvos.

Impressive lava forms, resembling columns placed one next to the other, can be seen next to the volcanic dome of Ordymnos. These characteristically shaped columnar lava forms were created by the rapidly cooled lava.

Volcanic neck of the Virgin Mary of Petra 

Dominating the plain, the volcanic neck of the Virgin Mary of Petra consists of andesitic lava. At the top is the church of the Virgin Mary Glykofiloussas.
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