Underwater Fossilized Forest (Project)

Project duration: 2013-2016

Agios Nikolaos, Laconia, Greece

Depth: >-20m

Divers, Photography/Video: Panagiotis Vletsas, Tasos Tsalavoutas

Scope of the project

The scope of the project was to record and document the existence of the underwater fossil concentrations of petrified trunks of palm trees, pine trees and wide-leaf trees in an area which was systematically surveyed in the past few years. A technical report prepared suggesting the delimitation of an extensive area for the protection of the fossils from human activity (net fishing, anchoring etc) in order the authorities to take further actions.

Geopark/Fossilized Forest

The Geopark/Fossilized Forest [1] is located in the seaside area of Agia Marina, SE of Agios Nikolaos Village in Laconia, Greece.

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The singularity of this Geopark lies in the process of the fossilization, which is unique, at least, in Greece.

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Elsewhere in Greece, like the petrified forest parks in Lesvos Island, Evros etc., the sample analysis showed that the fossils were “Pyritized” or “Mummified” due to volcanic eruptions. Agia Marina’s Geopark trunk sample analysis revealed that the fossilization process was by “Permineralization” (The forest submerged million years ago. When the  seawater level raised,  the trees were covered by lime [2]).

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The fossils are estimated to be 2-10 million years old.

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Scattered blowholes around the sediment rocks, where once tree trunks existed.

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Impressive fossilized roots.

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Underwater Fossilized Forest

What it is not widely known, is that in the area, there are multitudinous submerged fossilized trunks, that surprisingly in some cases are even larger compared to the existing ones in land.

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There is also another consideration to be mentioned [3] based on which some of the depicted formations could be “carbonate chimney structures” which in principal is also a quite rare geological phenomenon [4].

References/links:

[1] Fossil Forest: www.monemvasia.gr
[2] Prof.E.Velitzelos – http://users.uoa.gr/~velitzel
[3] Evidence of Cold Seeping in Plio-Pleistocene Sediments of SE Peloponese: The Fossil Carbonate  Chimneys of Neapolis Region, Sakellariou D., Fountoulis I., and Lykousis V.  (pdf)
[4] Jon Erickson, Marine Geology – Exploring the new frontiers of the ocean
Acknowledgements:
We would like to express our special appreciation and thanks to the following:
Mr Giorgos Kolikis for his precious help with video editing.
Mr Nikos Karatzas, Scuba Instructor of Aquatec.gr, for the hard training and the inspiration all these years.

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