Petrified Forest of Lesvos, Lesvos
Conservation, Education & Tourism
The Lesvos Global Geopark, former Lesvos Petrified Forest Geopark, is a founding member of the European Geoparks Network, under the protection of UNESCO, 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.
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.
Petrfied Forest located near Sigri (western part) is considered to be a place from Lesvos Top of attractions. Millions years ago the dust from volcanic eruption covered the trees and changed them into hardened 'sculptures'.
I'm not a geological expert and perhaps because of that It didn't make special impression on me. Maybe I'm blind but Petrified Forest was only disorder of remains set into the soil. Sometimes I feel the same visiting archeological excavations. ANd I think that usually only specialists, researchers can see in these ruines vital images of past life.
But the huge area of Petrfied Forest enchanted me by its mood - totally petrified. This nature reserve is situated on the big slope with almost no vegetation. Around only naked, reddish mountains and absolutely HUSH! Only sometimes mild breeze of hot wind rises the clouds of dust and moves the dried branches of small, brown shrubbery. The Sun is high above the horizon and its beams - it can seem impossible - freeze the land in neverending waiting. Sorry for such associations... but this place - with it's majestatic mood and stagnation - will be ideal area for national cemetary, place where heroes can finish their brave lifes.
In western Lesvos, the Petrified Forest stretches out to Sigri, Eressos and Antissa. It has attracted scientists from around the world who are constantly studying the rare fossils. According to their research, the petrification of the forest was formed due to volcanic activity that occurred in the region around 15-20 million years ago. The process was such that plants were left in perfect condition.
You can see the trunks, leaves, cones and even seeds of the vegetation that has been preserved in a petrified formed. It is interesting to note that petrified plants have been found in other parts of the island like Mithymna, Plomari, Polychnitos, island of Nisiopi and Rouggada. In ‘Pali-Alonia’ standing tree trunks form a unique sight not to be found elsewhere in the world. Five areas of Lesvos have been declared Monuments of Beauty in an attempt to protect the island’s petrified trees. Contact with this rare natural phenomenon is a magical experience but certain limitations have been put into place to protect the petrified forests. More specifically, visitors are not allowed to take any samples away with them.
The petrified forest in Lesvos is 8according to books) one of only two such places in the world. The other one is supposedly in California. anyway, in the petrified forest (forest, well, an arid landscape with only trees dead since millions of years...)you can see trees that are around 2 million years old, and completely turned into stone. What is really unique is that the pieces of wood have been left to stand where they were originally found. If you come close to them, it looks just like the wood it once was. Really freaky!
It stands at the general area of Sigri ,both in the sea and at the mountains.It is an 20 -million -years old (!) product of volcano activity ,it is declared Protected Natural Monument and contains some of the world's best preserved petrified trees and the tallest standing petrified tree ever found.Natural history museum of the Lesvos petrified forrest ,located at Sigri,is worth visiting especially if you are interested in volcanoes and you want to see some virtual reality things about them.Actually,a vt meeting took place there in August 2002 with not much participation as you can see from the picture...(but we enjoyed ourselfs!)
The Petrified Forest extends to the west side of Lesvos, in the region of Sigri and Eressos. The land of Lesvos and the infinite blue of the sea, in combination with the volcanic petrification, create a landscape of rare beauty, which draws the attention and the admiration of the entire world. The Petrified Forest is a phenomenon of geological and paleontology great value. The trunks of the trees, erect or laid down, reaches a length of 20 metres and a diameter of 3 meters. The variety of colours in the trunks are enchanting. The trunks, leaves roots, fruits and springs have also been kept in perfect state. The forest covers a very large area, a part of which extends into the sea.
Some researches has proven that 20 million years ago in this region there was a thick tropical forest with gigantic trees in this area. Most of them were primitive forms of the today's Sequoia and Pine. Other pants are recognized as ilex, laurel, plane, beech, cypress, and palm. After intense volcanic activity and eruptions, lava and volcanic aches covered the forest very quickly . Its isolation from environmental conditions and intense hydrothermal flowing of warm liquids, rich in salts of pyrite, permited the perfect petrification, likely the trunks were brought out by seismic activities. Today regular excavations continueously bring up more fossilsto the surface.
The government declared the Petrified Forest historical natural monument and in 1994 the Natural History Museum of Petrified Forest was created in Sigri
A rare nature monument which is one of the main attractions of the island. It has been declared a natural monument.