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Fingers of Giants - Meteora Earthcache

A cache by Flintstone5611 Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 09/14/2010
2 out of 5
2.5 out of 5

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Geocache Description:

Welcome to one of the most unique geological features in Greece!

Meteora (from the Greek meaning “suspended rocks”, “suspended in the air” or “in the heavens above”) is one of the most majestic and beautiful geological features in the continent. This area was believed to be underwater long ago and simply put that resulted in these structures forming naturally. These pillars that stand well over 100m high in some cases, are made of conglomerate and have been formed over thousands if not millions of years. The wind and water – that continually present itself due to the climate and altitude – continue to shape these magnificent formations!

This a trip that will be worth every moment you can devote to it, the indescribable qualities of this area are part have led to the inclusion of Meteora on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1988. (visit link)

What are conglomerate rocks and just how are they formed? A conglomerate is a type of rock that is made up of components, kind of like cement. There are very small grains (called matrix) that act as a ‘glue’ to bond larger individual rounded rocks and rock fragments. When formed together, they are called clasts (as groupings) and appear rounded in a range of sizes. The fact that they are rounded differentiates them from breccias, which consist of angular clasts. Both conglomerates and breccias are characterized by clasts larger than 2mm.

There are five types of clast compositions for this type of rock:

Monomictic – clasts with only a single lithology (rock type)

Oligomictic – clasts of only a few different lithologies

Polymictic – clasts of many different lithologies

Intraformational – clasts derived from the same formation in which they are found

Extraformational – clasts derived from older rocks than the formation in which they are found

There are also different size classifications:

Granule (2-4mm)

Pebble (4-64mm)

Cobble (64-256mm)

Boulder (>256mm)

Meteora are composed of various clasts, many of which are easily identifiable upon close inspection. According to geologists, this valley was once an enormous lake that was emptied into the Aegean in one cataclysmic event, when the natural levy collapsed around today’s Tempe, leaving behind a very fertile and relatively flat land. At the western edge of this lake, near the Pindos Mountains, a number of streams formed a delta right where Meteora is today as they emptied their waters into the lake. Just imagine how much sedimentary rock and other materials were on the move when the huge volume of water was able to rush away from this region in a flash flood. The conglomerate was formed over thousands of years of stone, sand and mud deposits at the edge of the lake, and when the lake dried the softer sandstone around it eroded away leaving Meteora standing.

There height and solitude led to their usage by monks in the 9th century, as a location to pursue quiet meditation and worship. They were the first people to actually live in the structures ofMeteora. They lived in hollows and fissures in these towers of rock, some of which are over 500m tall! Centuries later, monasteries would be built atop these pillars. Of the 24 monasteries that once graced these natural pillars, only 6 are in use today.

The coordinates given will take you close to one of the look outs from which you can take some breathtaking pictures and ascertain some of the info that is required to log this cache.

In order to log this cache you must provide answers to these tasks to me through my profile email, please do not post your answers in your log:

1. Examine the height of the three closest formations and approximate the average height.

2. Gather the names of the six monasteries that are currently active.

3. Find an example of the conglomerate. Examine and describe the size of the grains/pebbles in the conglomerate or sandstone that you see. Based on the size and shape of the grains, where do you think they came from to form these amazing pinnacles?


4. Show us a photo of you with the feature in the background.

This location is recognized around the world for its unique contribution to geology and beauty as a result of a mix of natural events. Enjoy the view and scenery that is a must for any trip into the heart of northern Greece.

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This cache placed and maintained by an Ontario Geocaching Association Member

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