LESVOS GLOBAL GEOPARK (Greece)
The Lesvos Global Geopark, former Lesvos Petrified Forest Geopark, is a founding member of the European Geoparks Network that brings visitors to an ancient forest preserved by a massive volcanic eruption 20 million years ago. The Geopark was recently extended to cover the whole area of Lesvos Island.
Conservation, Education & Tourism
Located in the north-east Aegean Sea, the Lesvos Global Geopark features rare and impressive fossilised tree-trunks. Formed some 15 to 20 million years ago, due to intense volcanic activity, the trees were covered by lava, ashes and other materials that were spewed into the atmosphere. Heavy rainfalls soon followed and saturated the ashes, thus creating huge mudflows of pyroclastic material.
These flows moved from east to west with considerable speed and engulfed the trees that covered the western part of Lesvos at that time. Today some of the trunks can still be seen in their upright position with intact roots of up to seven metres, while others are found in a fallen position measuring up to 20 metres. The forest comprised enormous trees similar to those of the Sequoia family found today in North America as well as pines, oaks, conifers and cinnamon trees.
The fossilised trunks have retained fine details of their bark and their interior reveals a great variety of colours. Not only ancient trees were fossilised but an entire ecosystem as well. Branches, fruits and leaves have also been preserved. The park includes the Natural History Museum in Sigri that offers visitors a better understanding of the geological evolution of the Aegean Sea, together with a variety of original exhibits. Special guided tours of the area and educational programmes for students are also organised.
The Global Geoparks Network is supported by UNESCO at the request of Member States