Cyprus, a number of geoforms have been identified, recorded and
described, and several of them have already been included in
official catalogues. The following list includes some of the
better known examples:
topped, steep sided hills called “mesa”,
(Photo GF1) characteristic of the Mesaoria
Plain. The upper surfaces of these hills are covered by hard
rocks, usually calcareous sandstone or cemented gravel and their
sides by softer marl. Their formation is due to the differential
weathering of these rocks in conjunction with the uplifting
movements in Cyprus.
GF2), on the Athalassa-Geri
road, is a typical example, because it is capped by a flat lying
bed of hard calcarenite, which overlies softer marls. The rocks
belong to the Nicosia-Athalassa Formation of Pliocene age. The
hill is bounded towards the top by a steep cliff, which has
developed in the mechanically strong layer of calcarenite, but
the sides of the hill become much gentler in the underlying
marls and provide a marked contrast. The hill is isolated and
forms an erosional remnant of the Mesaoria plain that persisted
because of its protective cover of more resistant sedimentary
rock of calcarenite.
(Photo GF3) They occur in several parts of Cyprus and have formed
due to the down cutting action of rivers through chemically
resistant and mechanically strong rocks in areas that have been
raised high above sea-level.
Limnati and Avakas
(scan photo from pamphlet of Env Serv) are typical examples.
Avakas is one of the deepest, steepest and narrowest gorges of
the island. It has taken its name from the river of Avakas or
Avgas, which through the centuries has cut through the
calcareous rocks of the area to form this explicit natural
monument. The rocks belong to the Lefkara and Pakhna Formations.
The gorge is 6 km long, starting from Pegeia forest to the east
and ending at Toxeftra coast to the west. The most impressive
part of the gorge, however, is limited to a length of 2 km. In
this part, vertical calcareous rocks rise some 30 m above the
river bed. Here the gorge is also very narrow with a width of
about 2 m, which can exceed 6 m in other places. The gorge has a
rich flora and its walls are usually moist. The ecosystem that
has developed there is very fragile and this unique geoform must
be protected and preserved.
or Lefkoniko Pass on the eastern extension of Kyrenia Range to
the north of Lefkoniko;
to the north of Myrtou.
Fossils of mammals and in
particular of pygmy hippopotami and pygmy elephant were found in
caves and other natural cavities that formed in the terrestrial
Pleistocene formations of Cyprus. These mammals appear to have
come to Cyprus 100,000 to 250,000 years ago and adapted to the
new environment of an island. The most important adaptation was
dwarfishness. The pygmy hippopotamus of Cyprus (Phanourios minutus)(Photo GF4) had a length of 1.5 m and a
height of 0.75 m while the pygmy elephant (Elephas
cypriotes) had a height of about 1 m. They became extinct
about 10,000 years ago. Reese (1995) has recorded 40 sites from
all over Cyprus where mammal fossils were found.
(Photo GF5) near Latsia. The
Kakkaristra fossil site is situated within the Kakkaristra gorge
GF6), which lies to the
southwest of Latsia. The gorge is about 1 km long and a maximum
of 10 m deep. It
developed during the Upper Pleistocene after the emergence of
the area above the sea and the action of denudation on the
resistant beds of the newly formed land. The rocks, through
which the gorge has cut, include sandy marls, greywackes,
calcarenite, limestone and conglomerate. The fossils of the
Kakkaristra fossil site occur in sandy marls of the Nicosia
Formation of Pliocene age. They are made up almost entirely of Ostrea
edulis but other species including Pecten
and Balanus are also
found. They are mostly concentrated in a layer.
They have formed in rocks of limestone and gypsum and their
formation is due to the solution of the rock mass by rainwater
charged with carbon dioxide. Stalactites grow downward from the
roof and stalagmites upward from the floor. In Cyprus, caves are
usually small because of the limited thickness and extent of the
limestone and gypsum formations.
(Photo GF7) in Koronia Limestone.
Range caves in Mesozoic limestones. They occur in particular on
the southern flanks of the Kyrenia Range immediately to the
north of Aghirda village and Ay. Khariton.
caves from the ancient times. These caves were excavated in the
sandy marls of the Nicosia Formation and are found at
Galinoporni and Korovia villages. It is thought that these caves
belong to the early Byzantine times. Similar caves were found at
the eastern part of Koma tou Yialou village; they were excavated
cave at Platani village. This is described in greater detail
Hill on the Astromeritis – Troodos road to the southwest of
Koutrafas. It is a good example of locality for the Koronia
Limestone Formation of Upper Miocene age as it provides a
complete section. It is a reef limestone with fossils of corals
and molluscs including Pecten, Cardium and Venus. It rests
directly on Upper Pillow Lavas and due to its toughness the
limestone has resisted erosion and forms a capping on the hill.
Similar rocs occur at Armenochori.
GF9). Typical outcrops
of this Upper Cretaceous Formation occur to the west of Kathikas
and on the Koilineia – Vretsia road. This spectacular series
of debris-flows (olistostromes) form the Kathikas Formation of
Upper Cretaceous age. The melange comprises clasts of nearly all
of the rocks of the Mamonia terrane (chert, sandstone, lava) in
a matrix of reddish-purple argillaceous sediment.
basalt – Upper Pillow Lavas at Margi. The site lies 500 m to
the southwest of Margi village and has long been of interest to
the geo-scientists. Good examples of picritic and glassy olivine
basalts are found here and certain horizons contain fresh
volcanic glass. Such lavas are relatively rare elsewhere.
Lavas – Maroullena- Akaki River at Klirou
Panagra gorge on the Myrtou–Kyrenia main road; and Platanisso
village in the Karpas Peninsula.
pillow lavas are spherical or ellipsoidal structures, usually
composed of basalt lava 30-70 cm in diameter. They are the
result of rapid cooling of hot, fluid magma that came into
contact with seawater. The Troodos pillow lavas are cut by
steeply dipping dykes composed of the same basaltic material.
Many of these dykes represent the feeders of later lava flows.
terraces at Chiklos site on the Kyrenia – Nicosia main road
and in the town centre and southern portion of Lapithos village
in the Kyrenia district.
(tall pyramidal stacks in Mesozoic limestone of the Kyrenia
Range close to the road from Vasilia to Larnaca tis Lapithou and
on the road between Karmi and Phtreykha.
(Photo GF11) – near Avdellero. The
most common zeolite minerals found at Avdellero are analcite and
natrolite and they occur in Upper Pillow Lavas. Analcite is
normally found in the form of trapezohedron crystals, milk-white
in colour but quite often colourless, several millimetres across.
Natrolite occurs in the form of fibrous or radiating crystals
sometimes 3-4 cm long.
nodular chromite – Limassol and Akapnou forests (Photo GF19).
This form of chromite consists of closely packed, rounded and
elongated nodules in a serpentinite matrix. Individual nodules
vary in diameter from a few millimetres to 2-3 cm and are often
perfectly rounded. This nodular texture is known as leopard ore.
Twin gypsum crystals
(Photo GF12) – Eledio-Amargeti
road and Kathikas-Stroumpi road; near the road junction between
Pano Dhikomo and Vouno.
the Eledio-Amargeti and Kathikas-Stroumpi areas the gypsiferous
deposits accumulated in a small basin bounded by higher areas,
represented by the Troodos ophiolite to the east and the Akamas
peninsula to the west. In this area the gypsum is of two types:
a) fine-grained alabastrine sugary gypsum and b) elongate
swallow-tail gypsum. The latter form is the most impressive with
individual crystals attaining lengths of 3 m.
sands are found at various beach sites in the northern part of
Cyprus, like Monarga (Bogaz) and to the east of Agios Epiktitos
village in the Kyrenia District.
copper mineralisation occurrence in the oxidation zone to the
west of Platanisso.
Barite occurrences around Kilanemos village in the Karpas
GF13) They are usually large detached blocks of limestone or
sandstone of the Mamonia Complex and other formations.
(Photo GF14) – recrystallised
limestone on the Nikoklia - Agios Nikolaos road near Prastio,
Pafos. The rock rises 30 m above the ground and in combination
with the rusty and dark colours of its surface presents an
Inia rocks (scan photo from pamphlet of Env.
Serv.) – large detached rocks of Akamas Sandstone near Inia.
sulphide (copper) mines (Photos
GF15, GF16). These
are found at Skouriotisa, Mitsero-Agrokipia, Kampia, Mathiatis-Shia,
Kalavasos, Limni. In these mines a wealth of information can be
found for anybody interested in geology and minerals.
exposure. (Photo GF17) Classical
exposure in the old quarry on the Kellia - Troulloi road.
Similar exposures are also seen in the abandoned pit at
the southern part of Arsos village in the Famagusta district and
in the new deposits recently discovered in the same area.
These deposits are sea–borne, probably originating from the
Greek islands or southern Italy where they were ejected from
some volcanoes. Pieces of rounded pumice occur near the top of
the raised beach deposits near the Agia Irini coast. The pumice
contains plates of mica and crystals of quartz and