The creation of a geopark on Syros – A proposal

Friday, June 17, 2011

On Saturday 4th June, at the Cultural Center of Syros-Ermoupolis Municipality, a meeting took place for the promotion of the geological heritage of the island. The main speaker was Dimitrios Kostopoulos, Assisant Professor of Geology and Geoenvironment Department of  theNational and Kapodistrian University of Athens, accompanied by a group of twenty students from the same department.

The impressive presentation gave a comprehensive analysis of the geological route followed in the creation of the island, starting 330 million years ago, with the granites of Komito, and arriving at the assemblage of the island in its present form 45 million years ago, emerging finally on the surface 15 million ago. The conditions that favored the formation of such beautiful and rare blueschists and eclogites that have attract the interest of universities from all over the world, were thoroughly explained.

Next the students accompanying Prof. Kostopoulos presented a proposal for the foundation of a Geopark of blueschists and eclogites on Syros, aiming at the development of geotourism on the island. The proposal comprises a series of activities, such as an  inventory of spots of geological interest, the creation of a path network for accessing them, the creation of a natural history museum and an information center for educational activities, while at same time the whole endeavor would be enriched by cultural events, seminars, etc. and by its interconnection with local tourist enterprises (hotels, restaurants, etc.)

Furthermore, the proposal elaborated that the operation of the geopark will attract the attention of the world scientific community to Syros, as many geo-scientists worldwide have already expressed interest. This venture should be considered as a sure and strong reinforcement of the local economy through the opening up of tourism  to  high-quality and environmentally-friendly activities.

After the end of the meeting there was an educational excursion to the site of Dani (the transportation of the Professor and his students to and from the site was an offer of the KTEL – public transport of Syros company), where whoever undertook the trip had the opportunity to admire the blue schists and the eclogites, as well as a multitude of other rocks.

Translated by Aliki Tsoukala / Edited by Rupert Smith

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