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PENTADAKTYLOS

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The Keryneia Terrane is the northern-most geological zone of Cyprus and is considered to be the southern-most portion of the Tauro-Diraride Alpine Zone. It forms a narrow, steep-sided chain of mountains that rise abruptly from the surrounding lowlands which runs from Cape Kormakitis in the west to Cape Andreas in the east. The crest of the range for most of its length varies in altitude between 800 and 1024m. To the north this very rugged range is separated from the sea by a narrow terraced coastal plain that is never more than 5 km wide. In contrast, it is flanked to the south by the broad lowlands of the Mesaoria Plain.

The Keryneia Terrane is structurally a complex assemblage of Permian to Recent sedimentary and limited metamorphic and igneous rocks. The three main geological formations are the allochthonous Dhikomo, Sykhari and Hilarion Formations, which form the main carbonate masses of the Pentadaktylos Range. The Dhikomo Formation consists of deformed thinly bedded limestones with layers of grey and green phyllites. The Sykhari Formation is composed of massive to thickly bedded dolomitic limestones. The Hilarion Formation consists of medium-bedded to massive limestones, which were subjected to a low degree of metamorphism. Impressive and continuous outcrops of limestones occur in the central part of the range, whereas in the eastern part they occur in the form of olistholiths referred to as the Kantara Formation (Permian-Carboniferous, 350-250 Ma).These allochthonous formations were thrusted southward over the younger autochthonous marine sediments, which are known as the Lapithos, Kalogrea-Ardana and Kythrea Formations.

The oldest autochthonous unit in the Keryneia Terrane is the Lapithos Formation of Campanian to Eocene age (85 – 40 Ma). The Formation consists of pelagic marls and chalks with cherts which occur as faulted and schistose beds containing contemporaneous lava horizons of basaltic and rhyolitic compositions. The Lapithos Formation is followed in succession by the Kalogrea-Ardana Flysch (Bellapais Formation) of Upper Eocene age (35 Ma). The Kalogrea-Ardana Flysch is uncomformably overlain by the Kythrea Formation or Kythrea Flysch as it is best known, which outcrops along both sides of the Pentadaktylos Range as a thick and much folded sequence of sandstones, siltstones and marls of mid-Miocene age (15 Ma). On the southern side of the range, the Kythrea Flysch interfingers with the Pakhna chalks and marls.

The fracturing and karstification of the allochthonous limestones made them excellent local aquifers and give rise to a number of significant springs at the foothills of the mountain range, close to the contact of the limestones with the underlying marly-argillaceous rocks.



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