On the island of Lesvos they found trees dead from a volcanic eruption, 18 million years old

During excavations at the place of repair of pipes for draining rainwater on the island of Lesvos, workers stumbled upon petrified trees, which were growing there 18 million years ago. This is not the first find at this site. This time they found 14 stone trunks in the so-called Petrified Forest. Greekreporter reports about the find and its history.

“The trunks are very well preserved. These are large logs that were lying one on top of the other, like a stack,” said Professor Nikos Zouros, director of the Sigri Petrified Forest Museum.

He also noted that among the trees were not only large, but also small trunks. Scientists were also able to find fossilized large branches. All finds belong to different species: not only conifers, but also fruit trees were found here.

Archaeologists believe that the location of the fossils indicates how large-scale volcanic eruptions were in this area 18 million years ago.

Professor Zouros believes that based on the geological formations in the area, there used to be an ancient valley in which the plants that died in the eruption grew. The trees were uprooted by gas explosions and then covered with ash from the volcano’s mouth. Long rains then flooded the low-lying area, washing away some of the ash layer and some of the dead plants. Apparently, this led to a flood. Massive mudflows blocked the exit from the valley, forming a blockage in which the trees became stuck and, mixed with water and ash, gradually petrified.

This is not the first find in the area, and experts hope to discover more evidence of ancient volcanic eruptions. Petrified forest on the island of Lesvos received the status of a protected natural monument 37 years ago. The Natural History Museum of Lesvos Petrified Forest was established there 9 years later.

In addition to the trees, fossilized remains of mammals have also been found in the area. However, they are much younger than the trees. Dating has shown that they are only two million years old. These findings were made just a month ago. Among other things, archaeologists found here the fossilized remains of horses, cattle, antelope and deer, which used to inhabit this area.

Fragments of the remains of small mammals have also been found. On one of the slopes there were found bones of hare-like animals, similar to today’s wild rabbits. What is interesting is that fossilized trees are found only on the eastern slope of the natural hill, while animals were found on the eastern slope.

“The rich material of the investigated paleontological excavations testifies to the richness of the island’s fauna, reveals important facts about the fauna and ecosystems of the East Aegean Sea and the connection of the islands with the neighboring peninsula of Asia Minor,” said Professor Zouros.

To date, scientists have managed to identify about 500 samples of fossilized plants and animals, but a much larger number of findings of the ancient flora and fauna of Lesvos are still to be recognized by specialists.