West, I.M. 2015 [but actually old and out of date]. Geology of a Salt Lake and some cliffs of southern Cyprus. Internet site. http://www.southampton.ac.uk/~imw/Cyprus-Akrotiri-Lake-Coast.htm. Version: 6th December 2015. (an old and out-of-date webpage, cautiously edited but not updated; it is now under consideration for deletion)
Egmont Bight to Chapman's Pool

Faculty of Natural and Environmental Sciences,
Southampton University Ian West,
Romsey, Hampshire

and Visiting Scientist at:
Faculty of Natural and Environmental Sciences,
Southampton University, Webpage hosted by courtesy of iSolutions, Southampton University
Website archived at the British Library
(Photographs in this webpage may not necessarily be topographically accurate and they are designed to show only natural features of geological or geomorphological interest; this webpage has been edited)

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The Akrotiri peninsula, showing the

1. Introduction-General

This is a webpage on the geology of the salt lake and the cliffs of a part of southern Cyprus. Most of what is shown is publicly accessible ground that shows geological features. Of particular interest is an excellent tombolo attached to the mainland at Kourion.

The cliffs shown have no buildings and there are no routes up or down. Care has been taken to see that this old webpage deals only with geology. No features other than those of natural geological or geomorphological origin can be seen on the photographs. The particular cliffs discussed are only those of a coastal park. They have important archaeological remains and include the archaeological trail, known as "Dreamers". There are public information signs at intervals. Absolutely, no new or up-to-date photographs of the coast are shown.

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2. Introduction - Access

Much, but not all, of the peninsula is publicly acccessible from the north. You can drive as far south as the old village and visit the Sanctuary of the Cats further east and Lady's Mile. It is possible to proceed some way in the direction of Cape Zevgari, but not to the end of peninsula without a permit. The Akrotiri Salt Lake, the main pebble beach and the sand dunes at the Akrotiri end of it are within the public domain.

The cliffs provide good exposures of the Pakhna Formation and the Nicosia-Athalassa Formation. There are many interesting sedimentological features and the sequence is fossiliferous in places. A notable archaeological site is Aetokremnos, famous for pygmy elephants.

The Dreamers Path provides particularly good access to the cliff tops. However, except at certain places such as Dreamers Bay, the foot of the cliffs is inaccessible except by boat. There are some quite good exposures of some units on the cliff top.

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3. Introduction: Safety and Risk Assessment

1. Take great care to abide by regulations and signs and under no circumstances attempt to enter any restricted area.

2. Be very careful with the cliffs on the south coast of the Peninsula. These cliffs are quite hazardous and there are warning notices. In several places it might seem possible to descend the cliffs for some way towards the sea. However, the lowest part is often vertical or even overhanging, and there is considerable risk of falling.

3. There is soft, boggy ground at the margins of the Akrotiri Salt Lake. Within it a salt crust may conceal soft mud beneath. Do not go out on it where you could break through or foolishly attempt to use vehicles on it.

4. Snakes or other harmful creatures do not seem common in the area, but it best to watch out for any such hazard.

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4. Introduction - Maps

A simplified geological map of Cyprus, showing the relationship of the Troodos Ophiolite area to the pebble depositional area in Episkopi Bay near Akrotiri, Cyprus

The Akrotiri peninsula, showing the

Sketch map of geomorphological features of the Akrotiri Peninsula, near Lemesos, Cyprus

Geological map of the southeastern part of the Akrotiri Peninsula, Cyprus

A key publication on the area is Memoir No. 7 of the Geological Survey Department, Cyprus, by Bear and Morel (1960). This provides a geological map and cross section. A modified version of the map of the Akrotiri Peninsula, based on this is given above. Consult the original for more detail and for information on the setting and relationship to adjacent areas.

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- Geological Succession

A summary of the general stratal succession in Cyprus, based on Greensmith (1994) is given below. The Mesozoic sequence is not seen in the area discussed and is therefore not given in detail. The Troodos Ophiolite is a major and complex subject not considered here, except very briefly as a source of pebbles in the Akrotiri Peninsula.


Pleistocene - Alluvium, beaches, caliche and calcrete, blown sand.
Raised beaches, river terraces and fanglomerates.


Athalassa Formation - Sands and marls at or near the surface - 0-40m.


Nicosia Formation - Marls and limestones, often shelly, 0 - 800 m (with much outcrop on the Akrotiri Peninsula, but not very thick).


Kalavasos Formation - Evaporites - 0-150m (not present on the Akrotiri Peninsula?) &
Koronia Formation - Limestones and patch reefs - 0-150m (not present on the Akrotiri Peninsula?)

Pakhna Formation - Marls, sandstones, conglomerates, olistostrome (boulder beds) - 0-700m. (important on the Akrotiri Peninsula)

Terra Formation - Limestones - 0-100m. (not seen on the Akrotiri Peninsula).


Upper Lefkara Formation - Marls - 0-200m.

Eocene and Palaeocene

Middle Lefkara Formation - Chalks, marls and cherts - 0-450m.

Late Cretaceous

Lower Lefkara Formation - Marls and chalks

Mamonia Complex (Maastrichtian) - Moni and Kathikas Melanges, Ayio Photios and Dhiarizo Groups

(Mesozoic sequence below is not discussed here, but includes volcaniclastic sandstones, bentonitic clays , radiolarite muds and umbers)

(Cretaceous Troodos Ophiolite - see below for some illustrations, although it is not discussed in detail here)

5. INTRODUCTION continued

The Troodos Ophiolite - Source of Detritus

A distant view of Mount Olympus,  Troodos Mountains when approaching Cyprus in an airliner

It is easy to reach Mount Olympus or Chionistra, Cyprus - drive up winding roads from Lemesos or Akrotiri

In the Troodos National Forest Park with giant pines, Mount Olympus or Chionistra,  Cyprus

An outcrop of ultramafic rokc of the Troodos Ophiolite on Mount Olympus or Chionistra, Troodos Mountains, Cyprus

This exposure on a trail near the summit of Mount Olympus or Chionistra, Troodos Mountains, Cyprus, resembles a sedimentary sequence, but is probably a peridotite, an ultramafic rock

A labelled exposure of dunite on a trail near the summit of Mount Olympus, Chionistra, Troodos Mountains, Cyprus

The famous Troodos Ophiolite is not a major subject of this webpage. However, some brief consideration of it is needed. This is because the Troodos Mountains are about 30km north of the Akrotiri Peninsula and the strata of this range are important as the source of the darker detritus brought down to the Akrotiri Peninsula by the Kouris River. The high tributaries of this river are on the south slopes of the Troodos Range and have their headwaters in Troodos ophiolite gabbros, harzuburgite and dunite. In fact, most debris eroded from the south side of the Troodos Range travels into the Khouris River. The distinctive pebbles from the Troodos Ophiolite can be found on the pebble beach.

The Troodos ophiolite is a mountainous area of igneous rocks that are ultamafic to mafic in composition. This means that they have a high density (about 3.3) and a high content of magnesium and iron. They are thus quite unlike the other extreme which is granite. That igneous rock is lighter in terms of both density (near 2.7) and colour and has much silica content and relatively little iron and magnesium. These dense and iron and magnesium-rich rocks are typical of ocean floor crust and the underlying hot mantle [the mantle is about 2,900 km thick and, although normally inaccessible, forms a large part of the planet Earth]. The rocks which seem to be of mantle origin are those which form the central part of the Troodos Range at Mount Olympus (Chionistra). These are very rich in the magnesium silicate olivine (peridot, the olive-green precious stone, is a variety of olivine), and harzburgite is a major rock type here. You might expect these rocks to be greenish or grey and they should be when fresh; however recent weathering and/or early oxidation of the iron content gives them a rusty brown surface appearance. On beaches, such as the Episkopi tombolo beach, those pebbles which have come from the Troodos are generally dark grey because any rusty weathering is worn off.

Since the 1970s and the development of the theory of plate tectonics it has been realised that the Troodos ophiolite rocks represent a piece of ocean crust and mantle which has been uplifted in some way and formed the core of the island of Cyprus. It was thought at first that this was the remains of an old mid-ocean ridge (MOR) that had somehow been preserved. The age of the ophiolite is late Cretaceous and the ocean was the Tethys, a very large embayment from the Pacific Ocean but which has since been closed (except for remnants in the form of the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea). The Tethys was closed by the movement of the African Plate northwards towards Europe. It required some complicated discussion to explain how this ocean crust and mantle material came to be uplifted at Cyprus. A later aspect of the discussion has been on certain geochemical anomalies. Robertson (2002) reported that chemically the ophiolite (some others) has some characteristics which reveal that it formed above a subduction zone. Older ocean crust was subducted under it and certain recognisable chemical changes have resulted from this. He refers to this type of ophiolite as "supra-subduction zone type" or SSZ type.

The ophiolite succession of the Troodos Mountains, Cyprus, modified after Greensmith (1994)

It is important to understand the ocean floor origin and the sequence of ultramafic to mafic igneous rocks which are present in the ophiolite. The sequence is well-developed in the Troodos Mountains and shown diagrammatically above (after Greensmith (1994). To understand the details of the rock types it is really necessary to study thin-section microscopy and geochemical analysis. However, some observations can be made in the field even though some of the ultramafics just appear rather uniformly brown in exposures, as shown in some photographs here.

See some of the papers in the reference list at the end of this webpage for more information. A few more technical notes now follow.

A good concise summary of the ophiolite has been given by Robertson (2000). A small extract is given here, but the reader should consult the original publication for more information (it is available online).

"The [Troodos] ophiolite formed around 92–90 Ma (Cenomanian–Turonian), based on U–Pb isotopic dating of plagiogranites (Mukasa and Ludden, 1987). No basal metamorphic sole is exposed and, indeed, none may be present. Seismic refraction evidence indicates that the Troodos ophiolite is underlain at depth by crust of normal continental thickness (Makris et al., 1983), but the timing of its emplacement is not known. The ophiolite begins with tectonised harzburgite, interpreted as refractory mantle, together with inclusions of dunite and lherzolite. Overlying layered cumulates, including minor podiform chromites, are cut by gabbroic intrusives, favouring a multiple magma chamber spreading model (Robinson and Malpas, 1990). The upper, massive gabbros are locally overlain by small plagiogranite bodies that, in places, intrude overlying sheeted dykes. The contact between the massive gabbros and overlying sheeted dykes is commonly a low-angle extensional detachment fault zone (Varga and Moores, 1985). The overlying sheeted dyke complex trends nearly N–S (in contrast more NE–SW in the Kizilda, Hatay). Dykes are commonly rotated to low angles and locally re-injected by later dykes (Dietrich and Spencer, 1993). Spreading took place either by steady-state processes (Allerton and Vine, 1987), or by formation of discrete, ephemeral, seafloor grabens (Varga and Moores, 1985). Dykes dominate near the base of the overlying extrusives, but decrease in abundance upwards. Overlying traditional “Lower” and “Upper” pillow lava units are now seen as a collage of “volcanic–tectonic–hydrothermal cycles”, largely reflecting growth and destruction of pillow lava volcanoes at, or near, a spreading centre (Schmincke and Bednarz, 1990)." [continues]

In the central area of the Troodos Mountains near Mount Olympus (Chionistra) the main rock types are composed largely of coarsely crystalline olivine. These heavy dark rocks from deep beneath the ocean floor are in general termed peridotites. However there are several types present here, including both dunite and tectonised harzburgite.

The main types of olivine-rich rocks (peridotites) occurring in the Troodos Mountains are:

A display specimen of dunite at Troodos, Cyprus

Dunite - More than 90% olivine, typically with Mg/Fe ratio of about 9:1. This occurs in the Troodos Plutonic Complex. Dunite is thus a type of peridotite and consisting almost entirely of olivine, sometimes with some chromite. It is named after Mount Dun in New Zealand.

(Note - dunite - harzburgite confusion: In older literature the term harzburgite is rarely used, and "dunite" is stated to be the main rock type of the Mount Olympus area. Some references to dunite, including possibly some of the labelled rock exposures of the area, perhaps refer to hartzburgite.)

Wehrlite - predominantly composed of olivine plus clinopyroxene. This is present above the dunite.

Harzburgite (important at Mount Olympus) - a rock named after Harzburg in Germany. It is predominantly composed of olivine plus orthopyroxene, and relatively low proportions of basaltic ingredients (because garnet and clinopyroxene are minor). It is medium to coarse-grained and has a mixture of more than 80% olivine with the orthopyroxene enstatite in the Troodos Ophiolite. It has had a slow cooling history from magma generated at temperatures of 1000° - 1200° Centigrade. Its source is the mantle at a depth of 50 to 70km ( (Greensmith, 1988). In the Troodos Mountains it has a linear texture or foliation that is near vertical. This is proabbly a late-stage secondary fabric caused by flowage under considerable stress. "Tectonised harzburgite" is the term for this rock in the literature ( (Greensmith, 1988)

(Here are some details about the mineral composition of harzburgite:
It is type of peridotite (olivine rock) with olivine (orthorhombic, pale green,(Mg,Fe)
2 SiO 4 with Mg in excess of Fe.) dominant over the orthopyroxene enstatite (MgSiO 3 with up to 15% FeSiO 3 giving the general composition (Mg,Fe)SiO 3 or (Mg,Fe) 2 Si 2 O 6 . Enstatite is orthorhombic with two sets of cleavages parallel to the prism (110) and intersecting at 90° . It often has a bronze appearance in the hand-specimen)

Lherzolite - predominantly composed of olivine, orthopyroxene (commonly enstatite),and clinopyroxene (diopside), and have relatively high proportions of basaltic ingredients (garnet and clinopyroxene). Partial fusion of lherzolite and extraction of the melt fraction can leave a solid residue of harzburgite. This is not a major component of the Troodos Ophiolite.

In the field identifying the type of peridotite is difficult and microscopic petrography is really needed. It is very good that the authorities have provided some labelled exposures on the high trails. (It is interesting that the small Alpine plant Alyssum (species of which are common in British gardens) is apparently of some use showing ultramafic outrops here. According to Dreghorn (1973). He commented that Alyssum troodi occurs on dunite and serpentine. Lower down Alyssum cypricum grows on gabbro. These rock indicators grow only on soils derived from ultramafic and mafic rocks.)

Asbestos veins in serpentinised harzburgite, Troodos ophiolite, Cyprus

Alteration of the harzburgite by seawater when still hot has produced the serpentinite, the usual product of hydrated olivine rock. With it are veins of asbestos, chrysotile (a white to greenish fibrous serpentine mineral). There is a large opencast mine or quarry at Pano Amiandos about 45km east of Troodos. It opened in 1904 but has now closed since asbestos has been recognised as a health risk (Greensmith, 1994).

Pyroxenite occurs above the peridotites of the Troodos complex, Cyprus - this is a display specimen

At the top of the olivine-dominant rocks, including harzburgite and dunite, in the Troodos Complex there occur plutonic rocks composed mainly of pyroxene. A display specimen of pyroxenite is shown here. Note the coarseness of the crystals. As noted above the varieties of pyroxene, have unlike olivine, very well-developed and conspicuous cleavages. Because of some iron content in the pyroxenite it weather from dark grey to a reddish colour.

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Headland with Roman Monument at the Northern End of the Tombolo Beach

An aerial view of the Roman site of Kourion, north of the Akrotiri Peninsula, Cyprus

Banking and turning to the Akrotiri Peninsula, Cyprus, for geological aerial photography

Another view of the Kourion Roman site from the air, north of the Akrotiri Peninsula, Cyprus

The Roman Theatre at Kourion, Cyprus, reconstructed after earthquake damage

Ruins of the Roman town of Kourion, north of Akrotiri, Cyprus

An approximate reconstruction of the appearance of the Kourion Roman site and headland, Episkopi Bay, Cyprus, before the present tombolo pebble beach had developed

Kourion is an important archaeological site. The archaeological history will be mentioned only briefly, because the particular interest to the geologist is the coastal development. For archaeological information see the guide book to Kourion by Christou (2001). This contains a bibliography of archaeological literature on Kourion.

The Kourion site contains a history of earthquakes, which is of interest because of the presence of major faults in the area. The original theatre of Kourion dated to the late 2nd century BC. It was remodelled in the 1st century AD, most probably during the time of the Emperor Nero (Christou, 2001). It was badly damaged by the earthquake of the year AD 77 but subsequently reconstructed and enlarged. it was built of well-hewn massive limestone blocks from the nearby hillocks (is this Pakhna Limestone?). It was finally destroyed by the severe earthquake which ruined the whole town of Kourion in about AD 365 (Christou, 2001). It was reconstructed by the Department of Antiquities in 1961.

Further information about the major earthquake comes from "The House with Earthquake Evidence", discovered in 1934 by J.F. Daniel of the University of Pennsylvania. A man and woman holding a child, three other men and a mule were apparently killed at this house by a severe earthquake. This earthquake devastated the city of Kourion. It was identified as the earthquake referred to Ammianus Marcellinus, an historian of the 4th century, which began just after dawn on 21 July, AD. 365, and also struck Southern Greece and Egypt (Christou, 2001). It would be very interesting to know just what effects this had on the local coastline.

For a detailed study of the present earthquake risk on Cyprus, and with references to previous literature, see:
Earthquake Risk Assessment Case Study: Cyprus, by Stella Kythreoti and Kypros Pilakoutas, of the Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK

They note in the introduction that Santamas (in a personal communication, 1988) had reported that since 1900, Cyprus has been affected by approximately 800 earthquakes of magnitudes ranging from 4.0 - 7.0 on the Richter scale, 21 of which had magnitude = 5. He concluded that there is a possibility of a potentially damaging earthquake will occur approximately every 12 years and a destructive earthquake every 25 years. They follow this comment with a new assessment.

A Roman mosaic at Kourion, near Akrotiri, Cyprus, showing the young woman KTICIC, the Founding Spirit or Creation,  wearing an armlet and carrying a measure of the Roman foot

This mosaic is in the House of Eustolios at Kourion. The young woman is KTICIC (a Greek inscription) or the Founding Spirit or the Creation. She is carryin the one foot measure of the Romans. It is interesting that she is wearing a armlet rather like those made in large numbers at Kimmeridge in Dorset, England from oil shale or Blackstone, a jet-like material.

A close-up view of tesserae from a mosaic at Kourion, near Akrotiri, Cyprus

The mosaics at Kourion are of geological interest with regard to the rock types used. There is a light-coloured limestone that might have been obtained locally from the Tertiary chalky limestones of the Pakhna Formation. A dark grey rock appears to be igneous with small crystals visible. It is probably one of the ultramafic to mafic rock types of the Troodos ophiolite. It could have been obtained in the mountains or from pebbles on the local beachs. The material seems uniform, though, which would support an origin by quarrying at one site. There is also a pinkish rock which might be a rock that has been artificially burnt and a grey rock.

Notice that when the mosaic is broken the fracture lines run through the chalky limestone but not through the hard dark igneous rock.

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Sketch map of geomorphological features of the Akrotiri Peninsula, near Lemesos, Cyprus

The Akrotiri peninsula, showing the

The tombolo beach of Episkopi bay, Akrotiri, near Lemosos (Limassol), southern Cyprus.

southern part of the  Episcopi Bay Tombolo Beach, Akrotiri, Cyprus, looking southward

Pebbles of igneous material at the southeastern end of the tombolo at Akrotiri, Cyprus

Tombolos are fairly common geomorphological features. They consist of a beach ridge of pebbles or sand that connects a former island to the mainland. This example of a pebble beach tombolo on the west side of the Akrotiri Peninsula has been compared to the Chesil Beach (Greensmith, 1998). Maps of this Cyprus promontory shows the obvious similarity to the Chesil Beach, Portland Harbour and the Isle of Portland. However this example is smaller than the Chesil Beach and does not show the same remarkable sorting of the pebbles.

southern end of the  Episcopi Bay Tombolo Beach, Akrotiri, Cyprus

The beach material is less resistant than that of the Chesil Beach of Dorset, England, consisting of white limestone pebbles and of the dark-grey igneous pebbles from the Troodos Ophiolite. At the southern end, as shown in the photograph above, in places there seems to be a very high proportion of igneous material. These pebbles are subrounded rather than rounded as are the pebbles of the Chesil Beach in Dorset. In contrast with this southeastern part, there seem to be more limestone pebbles at the famous archaeological site of Kourion (Courion or Curium), further to the northwest and near limestone cliffs.

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Beachrock at the Shipwreck on the Episkopi Bay Tombolo Beach, Akrotiri, near Lemosos (Limassol), southern Cyprus.

The tombolo beach to the west is cemented into beachrock in places, particularly in the southern part. There is an offshore reef of beachrock which is visible in one of the aerial photographs.

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The Kouris River is a seasonal, braided river which transports debris from the Troodos ophiolite to the pebble beach of Episkopi Bay, Cyprus

The Kouris River discharges onto the Episkopi Bay tombolo pebble beach, with a small delta, near Akrotiri, Cyprus

Old map of the Akrotiri peninsula, Cypris, showing approximately the original form of the tombola with a harbour to the east

There is a major sediment supply to the area between Kourion and Akrotiri by the Kouris River. This is a seasonal braided river, now much altered by human activity. It brings debris from the Troodos ophiolite and surrounding strata to the coast here. There is probably a large bulk of sediments in a former delta underlying the area north and west of the salt lake. Old maps, as shown above, indicate that at one time there was a distributary of the river flowing into what is now the salt lake.

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The southern end of the Episkopi Bay tombolo pebble beach and the old quarrying area and the grey sand dunes, near Akrotiri, Cyprus

A sandy bay south of the Episkopi Bay tombolo pebble beach, near Akrotiri village, Cyprus

Grey coastal dunes on the west side of the Akrotiri Peninsula, Cyprus

A view of grey coastal dunes near Akrotiri village, Cyprus

Aeolianite - cemented dunes with cross-bedding at Akrotiri, Cyprus

At the southern end of the tombolo beach is a small headland with eolianite and obvious rhizoconcretions. There is a memorial here to a British soldier. Beyond this to the south are grey sand dunes adjacent to a small curved bay. Landward there has been much quarrying of sand and gravel. Old cemented sand dunes lie to the east, quite near to the old village of Akrotiri.

Rhizoconcretions in Quaternary dune sandstone, Akrotir, Cyprus

A common problem encountered by geologists in Mediterranean or Middle Eastern areas is distinguishing eolianite (cemented dunes) from beachrock (cemented beach material). The main indicators are as follows:


1. Absence of pebbles.
2. Cross-bedding is conspicuous but variable, with a lack of regular bedded units.
3. Presence of rhizoconcretions (root concretions of calcium carbonate).
4. The mound-like or ridge-like morphology of dunes may be preserved
5. Cementation by low-Mg calcite.
6. Common caliche-development and calichefication (and calcrete) in the upper metre or so.


1. Pebble layers and/or shell layers present.
2. Seaward dip, with small-scale cross-lamination.
3. Cementation by high-Mg calcite or aragonite.
4. No rhizoconcretions.

Obviously these are merely guides not fixed rules. Note, also, that it is quite common for beachrock to pass upward into eolianite. The interpretion of sediments of these types needs some care.

For continuation of this area to the south go to next the section on Cape Zevgari.

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A general, oblique aerial view of Cape Zevgari and the south cliffs of the Akrotiri, Cyprus, looking eastward, with inland details not shown

Aerial view of cliffs of sandstone of the Athalassa Formation, near Cape Zevgari, Cyprus

View northeast from Cape Zevgari, Akrotiri Peninsula, Cyprus

View northward from Cape Zevgari, Akrotiri Peninsula, Cyprus, showing Athalassa Sandstone with cross-bedding

Cape Zevgari is within the area of the base, it is fenced off and under observation, and therefore you will need to carry a pass for access. However an extensive stretch of cliffs with the Athalassa Formation is accessible north of the limits of the base from Akrotiri village, and there may be no need to go to the end of the Cape.

Rhizoconcretions or Rhizocorallium  burrows, base of Athalassa Formation or top of Nicosia Formation, Cape Zevgari, Akrotiri Penisula, Cyprus

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CAPE ZEVGARI (continued)


Shelly beachrock at Cape Zevgari, Akrotiri Peninsula, Cyprus

Beachrock occurs here and there at the northwestern end of Cape Zevgari. Some of it is above and attached to beach outcrops of Athalassa sandstone. Note that it is also present on the Episkopi Bay Tombolo Beach, described above.

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CAPE ZEVGARI (continued)

Calcrete and Caliche

Overhang in a cliff of Athalassa sandstone resulting from caliche development in the uppermost layer, Cape Zevgari, Akrotiri Peninsula, Cyprus

An irregular surface of exposed calcrete at Cape Zevgari, Akrotiri Peninsula, Cyprus

Details of calcrete at Cape Zevgari, Akrotiri Peninsula, Cyprus

Calcrete and caliche is developed on a large part of the Akrotiri peninsula. It is particularly present on the limestone and blown calcareous sand of the higher ground of the area. It can well seen at Cape Zevgari near the end of the peninsula because storm waves have washed away the topsoil and destroyed the vegetation.

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The Akrotiri Salt Lake, Cyprus, in August 2004 when precipitating salt; the environment is a small-scale analogue for the Late Jurassic, Purbeck palaeoenvironment. Edited image

The Akrotiri salt lake, in May 2005 before major precipitation and drying up in the summer; the lake is behind the Episkopi Bay Tombolo Beach

The Akrotiri Salt Lake, Cyprus, when dry in September, 2006

Thin salt crust on ripples, southern margin of Akrotiri Salt Lake, Cyprus

The Akrotiri Salt Lake, near Lemesos (Limassol) is one of two significant salt lakes in Cyprus, the other being at Larnaca. It is a former embayment of the sea between the Episkopi Bay Tombolo Beach, a pebble beach, on the west side and a low sand barrier beach on the east. The lake is situated in a very seasonal Mediterranean environment which has appreciable rainfall in winter but is very dry in summer. Thus it only become satured for halite in the summer season and precipitates much salt by about July or August. It usually, but not always dries completely in late summer. In Spring, before it becomes very saline the lake and associated ponds are a great nuisance as a source of numerous mosquitoes.

In aerial views the relationship of the pebble beach to the original limestone island to the south is clearly visible. Old maps (see above) show that there was once a much larger body of water east of the beach. There seems to have been much natural reclamation and probably also much artificial reclamation of the original harbour or estuary.

In the aerial view notice the dry braided system of the Kouris River which has brought clasts of ultrabasic and basic igneous material from the Troodos Massif. The river mouth forms a small delta protruding seaward from the general line of the beach. On the old map a branch of this river is shown entering the salt-lake area.

In aerial views the relationship of the pebble beach to the original limestone island to the south clearly visible. Old maps (see above) show that there was once a much larger body of water east of the beach. There seems to have been much natural reclamation and probably also much artificial reclamation of the original harbour or estuary. This is now just a saline lake that can dry out to a salt crust in summer (although, unusually, it did not dry in 2004). In the marshes of its margins are marine molluscs, particularly Cerastoderma but also with Conus which is common in the sea here. This proves the original sea-connection.

In the aerial view notice the dry braided system of the Kouris River which has brought clasts of ultrabasic and basic igneous material from the Troodos Massif. The river mouth forms a small delta protruding seaward from the general line of the beach. On the old map a branch of this river is shown entering the salt-lake area.

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Progradation at Lady's Mile, the low eastern barrier of the Akrotiri Salt Lake, Cyprus.

Lady's Mile, a low sand beach and the eastern barrier of the Akrotiri Salt Lake, Cyprus.

The eastern barrier of the Akrotiri Salt Lake is Lady's Mile, a publicly-accessible beach south-southwest of Lemesos or Limassol. This is a very low, prograding series of parallel sand ridges and it might well be flooded in storms. The sand is presumably able to accumulate here because there is less wave fetch and therefore less erosion on this eastern side of the peninsula. However, the source of the sand is not obvious.

Lady's Mile has little vegetation on it because the surface is so close to the salt water-table. The sabkha without vegetation, at the southern end of the beach in the picture suggests that this is a route for either flooding by seawater or by lake water escaping seaward.

Further south at Button Beach small coastal sand dunes have been developed. Here the surface is above the limit of the capillary zone and as a result this is well-vegetated. Although the vegetation is different because of the high carbonate content in Cyprus it resembles the coastal sand dunes of Studland in Dorset, England (also a prograding eastern barrier of a coastal embayment, Poole Harbour).

Button Beach, Akrotiri, Cyprus, a sand-spit and dune accumulation resembling the South Haven Peninsula, Studland

Sea-holly and grasses on sand-dunes at Button Beach, Akrotiri, Cyprus

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A general, oblique arial view of the south cliffs of the Akrotiri, Cyprus, looking eastward, and for location of geological sites

The Miocene, Pliocene and Pleistocene cliffs west of Cape Gata, Cyprus

Unconformity between the Plio-Pleistocene Nicosia-Athalassa Formation and the Miocene Pakhna Formation, central part of southern cliffs of the Akrotiri Peninsula, Cyprus

The photograph above shows something of the relatively high limestone area, the former island, to the south. Views here show the cliffs of gently dipping limestone to the south and between Cape Gata and Cape Zevgari. Parts of these are of about 80m in height, but they are lower from Dreamers Bay westward. Fine-grained, almost chalky limestone of the Miocene Pakhna Formation is at the base of the cliffs with bioclastic limestones of Pliocene and Pleistocene age, the Nicosia-Athalassa Formation lying unconformably above.

There is a good cliff-top path, the Dreamers Path. Several ancient graves and other archaeological monuments are passed and Roman pottery sherds are widespread.

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Flying near the Aetokremnos dwarf elephant and dwarf hippotomus site, southern cliffs of the Akrotiri peninsula, Cyprus

The Aetokremnos archaeological site as seen looking up from the lower slopes of the cliff, Akrotiri peninsula, Cyprus

The most famous locality within this area is at Aetokremnos, the "Cliff of the Vulture". This is famous for the rock shelter with numerous bones of pygmy hippopotami and pygmy elephant, together with Mesolithic scrapers, dating from 10,500 years BP. It is the subject of a major investigation, described in a major book by Professor Alan Simmons (1999) of the University of Nevada at Los Vegas.

The ledge is about half-way up the cliff slope above a vertical cliff. It is a dangerous place on the edge of a vertical cliff and 40m above the sea; there is no very safe path down to it and it is certainly not recommended to try to descend to it. Cliff-falls are now reducing the width of the ledge. If it is approached by scrambling down the debris of the cliff there is serious risk of taking a disastrous route by mistake or of slipping on the loose rock and falling into the sea. Signs above the cliff draw attention to the dangers and in particular warn that children should not approach these hazardous cliffs.

Thousands of bones have been excavated from the Aetokremnos site. It was discovered in 1961 and excavations took place in the 1980s and 90s. Now there are many publications on the subject, even books, and they include other photographs of this important site (see for example: Mandel and Simmons (1997)). There have been arguments about whether the humans killed off the hippopotami and elephants or not - but for this discussion it necessary to follow the literature further. The Mandel and Simmons (1997) paper is useful for providing references.

The cliffs at the Aetokremnos archaeological site, Cyprus, 2005, edited version 2012

Profile of the lower part of the old cliffs at Aetokremnos, Akrotiri, Cyprus, appearing to show a basal rock platform beneath the debris mantle

Ancient tombs to the west of Aetokremnos pygmy hippopotamus site, Akrotiri peninsula, Cyprus

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Significance of Akrotiri Aetokremnos

The importance of the Aetokremnos site has been summarised by Professor Alan Simmons (2005) of the University of Nevada at Los Vegas.

"Once the Neolithic Revolution became established on the Near Eastern mainland, he says, it was inevitable that the radical changes it brought would spread to surrounding areas. Neolithic economies ultimately reached Europe but the exact trajectory of this is unclear. Along the way, it appears that several Mediterranean islands were colonized; conventional wisdom has suggested that this occurred relatively late in the Neolithic sequence. This assumption, however, has been questioned by Simmons and his research team since they discovered that the first occupants on the island of Cyprus appeared around 12,000 years ago and were actually pre-Neolithic hunter-gatherers.

"Our excavations at Akrotiri Aetokremnos on Cyprus generated considerable controversy." Simmons says. noting that his findings implicate humans in the extinction of a native species of pygmy hippopotamus on the island. "We found the fossilized remains of several hundred of the small hippopotami. as well as cultural artifacts indicating that humans had hunted the animals." These materials predated the Neolithic Revolution and challenged the assumption that colonization of the Mediterranean islands occurred much later. Simmons' discovery there also established a chronological benchmark from which researchers would go on to investigate subsequent Neolithic developments. Since Akrotiri Aetokremnos, new research by British and French investigators has shortened the gap between the "Akrotiri Phase" and the traditional Neolithic period, establishing a previously unknown, earlier Neolithic period. In addition, the French research group also documented the presence of cattle on the island during this earlier period; previous research had indicated the presence of cattle much later in the Bronze Age (around 2,500 BC.)."

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Old Cliffs and New Cliffs

Schematic diagram of the southern cliffs of the Akrotiri peninsula, Cyprus, showing the relics of an old cliff line with debris or head, and new steeper cliffs with caves

The southern cliffs of the Akrotiri peninsula are of two types. There are older cliffs at lower angles and characterised by much fallen debris derived from the Nicosia/Athalassa Formation and probably blown sand and other drift deposits. New cliffs have been formed where the sea has cut back beyond the old cliff line. These new cliffs are much steeper and have caves at the base. Examine the photographs will follow so as to recognise these two types of cliff. Also consider the photographs of the Aetokremnos area above.

The cliffs west of Cape Gata, Akrotiri peninsula, Cyprus, aerial view, showing an area of old landslide debris

A large area of old landslide debris associated with an old cliff line at the southern cliffs of Akrotiri peninsula, Cyprus, and showing badlands type of water erosion

An aerial view of a large area of low angle cliffs of soft, easily-eroded debris, west of Cape Gata, Akrotiri peninsula, Cyprus

Old landslide debris associated with the old cliff-line near Cape Gata, Akrotiri peninsula, Cyprus

Cape Gata, Akrotiri peninsula, Cyprus, viewed from the sea

An ancient cliff west of the Aetokremnos archaeological site, undergoing rejunenation and showing failures due to new undercutting, Akrotiri peninsula, Cyprus

The Aetokremnos archaeological site is closely connected with the old cliff. It is situated at the western edge of a relic of the old coast. A short distance further west the relationships between the old cliff and the new cliff are clearer. The old cliff has a mantle of debris which descends to an old rock platform, probably a raised beach like that at Dreamers Bay (a kilometre or so further west). This debris mantle is now being cut away at the base and a result semi-circular failures are developing above. Within these the near-horizontal bed rock is becoming exposed.

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Cape Gata

An isolated rockfall near Cape Gata, Akrotiri peninsula, Cyprus

The Pakhan limestone seen from a speedboat, near Cape Gata, Akrotiri peninsula, Cyprus

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Dreamers Bay - General

Cave Collapse Coast at Dreamers Bay, near Cape Zevgari, Cyprus. Photo-edited image.

Cave-collapse coast with raised beach or Plio-Pleistocene marine deposits at Dreamers Bay, near Cape Zevgari, Cyprus

Some aerial photographs (showing only geological and geomorphological features) illustrate the general topography of this interesting area. Note the folding in the Pakhna Limestone.

These cliffs show features resulting from undercutting, cave-formation and the collapse of the caves. These resemble features of Portland Bill, Dorset, England.

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Dreamers Bay - Folding

Dreamers Bay from the air, showing fold structures in the Pakhna Limestone, south cliffs of Akrotiri Peninsula, Cyprus

A minor syncline, with penecontemporaneous movement, in Pakhna Limestone at Dreamers Bay, Akrotiri Peninsula, Cyprus

Small folds are visible both from the air and on the ground at Dreamers Bay. These are in the limestone of the Pakhna Formation. Thicknening and thinning on limbs provides evidence that these were partly penecontemporaneous.

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- The Pakhna Olistostrome ("Boulder Beds")

An Olistostrome or Melange in the Pakhna Limestone, Dreamers Bay, Akrotiri, Cyprus

The Pakhna Boulder Beds, a Tertiary Olistostrome at Dreamers Bay, Akrotiri Peninsula, Cyprus

A large olistolith in the Pakhna Olistostrome at Dreamers Bay, Akrotiri Peninsula, Cyprus

Mouldic secondary porosity in an olistolith of the Pakhna Olistostrome, Dreamers Bay,Akrotiri Peninsula, Cyprus

An olistostrome ("boulder beds") of the Pakhna Formation in the southern cliffs of the Akrotiri Peninsula, as shown above, was discussed by Bear and Morel (1960). The Pakhna Formation is part of the Dhali Group (Browne and McGinty, 1949), who had earlier reported this east-west, almost linear outcrop. Bear and Morel (1960) stated that the boulder beds are of chalk overlain by buff-white marls. They extend from a point 1.6km (1 mile) east of Cape Zevgari to a location 2.4 km (1.5 miles) west of Cape Gata. This is, in other words, the central stretch of the southern Akrotiri cliffs, but they are relatively inaccessible, and not obvious from the cliff top, except at the lower cliffs at Dreamers Bay. They are overlain by Nicosia Formation, mostly of about 12 metres thickness.

The westernmost outcrop is presumably west of Dreamers Bay and in a restricted area that is not accessible even to the walker who is already within the base. Bear and Morel (1960) stated that "they consist of angular boulders of white chalk lying in a matrix of white marl". Those seen at Dreamers Bay, however, are not mainly white chalk but mostly of a coarse shelly limestone with some laminated limestone. Bear and Morel (1960) did mention that some boulders are identical to the horizons of "pea grit" in the Pakhan chalks to the north.

I have not made any detailed study of adjacent areas though and I may have a false impression from Dreamers Bay. The clasts certainly are angular in most cases and they vary from from the size of large cobbles to blocks of about 3 metres in length. Bear and Morel (1960) commented that eastward the boulder beds, the Pakhna Olistostrome, rapidly thicken while the overlying Nicosia strata are gradually cut out. Offshore the boulder beds form a number of sea stacks.

Bear and Morel (1960) considered that the olistostrome reaches its maximum thickness south of Vatha hill where they consists of about 24m. of coarse boulder breccia overlain unconformably by 0.9m. of white laminated (papery) marl with a bored top surface. This is overlain by 0.15m. of "conglomerate" (breccia?) and then by 0.76m. of white marl with foraminifera.

According to Dr. A. E. Cockbain, in Bear and Morel (1960)the foraminifera fauna is:

Asterigerina planorbis
Cibicides lobatulus
cf. aculeatum
Globigerina bulloides
Globigerinoides rubra
Globigerinoides sacculifer
Globigerinoides trilobus
Hopkinsina bononiensis
Orbulina universa

This assemblage was considered to be of Vindabonian Stage of the Miocene. Reed (1930) considered the Pakhna Formation to be the equivalent of Lower Vindabonian or Upper Burdigalian (of the Miocene).

(to be continued)

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- Pebble Bed in Nicosia/Athalassa Formation - Earthquake Evidence

A pebble bed of beach origin in the Nicosia or Athalassa Formation, southern cliffs of the Akrotiri Peninsula, Cyprus

A horizontal, roughly bedding-parallel surface of the pebble bed in the Nicosia or Athalassa Formation, southern cliffs of the Akrotiri Peninsula, Cyprus

Upward injection of a pebble bed into carbonate sediment, Nicosia or Athalassa Formation, southern cliffs of the Akrotiri Peninsula, Cyprus

A bed of limestone has subsided into a pebble bed of the Nicosia or Athalassa Formation, clifftop, southern cliffs of Akrotiri, Cyprus

The top of the southern cliffs of the Akrotiri Peninsula are composed mainly of shelly limestones of the Plio-Pleistocene Nicosia or Athalassa Formation. In place a pebble bed occur within the thin sequence. This is clearly seen about half way between Aeotokremnos (the dwarf hippopotamus and elephant site) and Cape Gata (the Cape of Cats) further east. Good exposures, illustrated above, are present at the cliff top, near the coast path, in front of a conspicuous installation surrounded with a high wire fence and lights etc. Thus, they are easy to find.

The pebbles in the pebble bed are rounded clasts of dark igneous material from the Troodos ophiolite. They resemble in general the pebbles on the Episkopi Bay tombolo pebble beach but are smaller. There do not seem to be many limestone pebbles present, but it is possible that these are not conspicuous because they are of limestone and the matrix of the pebble bed is limestone. Bivalve shells are associated with the pebbles and it is obvious that this is the remains of a former pebble bed like that of the present tombolo. However, these are are 40 metres high or more on the southern cliffs. They have presumably been uplifted after deposition in an environment like that of the low ground between Akrotiri and Kourion.

A particular interesting feature is evidence of former liquifaction of the pebble bed. There has been some collapse of some of the overlying limestone into the bed. The pebbles can be observed, in a photograph above, around subsided limestone blocks. Quite conspicuous is the evidence of upward intrusion of pebble bed into fractures in the limestone above. In this climatic region it is most improbable that this is the result of cryoturbation (action by freezing and thawing of the upper active layer of the soil in a periglacial climate) It must be concluded therefore that this is the result of major earthquake activity in Plio-Pleistocene times. This is an area of major earthquakes (as discussed elsewhere in this webpage) and major shocks presumably occurred in the past as in geologically recent times.

This ancient earthquake evidence provides some degree of warning that similar liquifaction could take place on the low ground with pebbles and sand between Akrotiri and Kourion. A major earthquake here could cause movement and flowage like this, with risk of the consequent collapse of buildings. Fortunately, there are few buildings in that area and most in Akrotiri are on limestone or sandstone and on higher ground. However, as we know, the Roman town of Kourion has been destroyed by an earthquake in the third century so it is wise that new building regulation in Cyprus take into account the earthquake possibility.

A clear implication of the olistostrome of Dreamers Bay and the liquifaction evidence of the pebble bed, taken together with the destruction of Kourion is that this is a very disturbed place, in terms of earthquakes. Major faults lie underneath the southern cliffs of the Akrotiri Peninsula. Thus, it would be very suprising if Aetokremnos, the famous location with pygmy hippopotamus and pygmy elephant, has not been much disturbed and moved by earthquake activity. It is almost on top of a fault, and the archaeological sequence may well have been moved in some way, as has the older pebble bed, discussed here.

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Our daughter Joanna Bentley, her husband Ben and grandson Daniel Bentley were very helpful and assisted during field work in Cyprus. Daniel appears in several photographs. Their support and hospitality was much appreciated. My wife Cathy generously arranged the second visit to Cyprus, which was very kind of her. Our daughter Tonya West also provided helpful assistance on this trip. The aerial photography of the geology of the Akrotiri Peninsula could not have taken place without the kind help of the pilots of the Akrotiri Flying Club.

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Bagnall , P.S. 1960. The Geology and Mineral Resources of the Pano Lefkara-Larnaca Area. Memoir No. 5, Geological Survey, Cyprus.
Bear L.M. 1960. The Geology and Mineral Resources of the Akaki-Lythrodondha Area. Memoir No. 3, Geological Survey, Cyprus

Bear , L.M. and Morel, S.W. 1960. The Geology and Mineral Resources of the Agros-Akrotiri Area. Geological Survey Department, Cyprus, Memoir No. 7. Published by authority of the Government of Cyprus. 88pp. with maps. Part 1: The Geology and Mineral Resources of the Agros-Apsiou Area, by L.M. Bear; Part 2: The Geology and Mineral Resources of the Apsiou-Akrotiri Area, by S.W. Morel.
Preface: This memoir deals with the area to the south of that described in Memoir No. 2 and describes country of approximately 195 square miles in extent. The fieldwork on which it is based was started by Mr. S. W. Morel. Owing to the unsettled conditions then prevailing this officer was able to complete only the mapping of 122 square miles on the scale of 1 :5,000 before his departure from Cyprus. Mr. L. M. Bear was given the task of completing the remainder, which constitutes most of the northern part. Owing to the limited time available and the relatively inaccessibility of portions, the mapping could not be carried out in the same detail as has been done elsewhere, scales of 1 :50,000 and 1 :10,000 being substituted for the normal scale. Although the area does not appear to be richly mineralised some chromite has been obtained and there are gossans indicating pyritic mineralisation worthy of prospecting. Each author is responsible for any of the views he has put forward. The memoir and geological maps should prove of value to those interested in the geology and mineral resources of this neighbourhood.
F.T. Ingham, Director of Geological Survey. March, 1960.
Boyle , J.F. and Robertson, A.H.F. 1984. Evolving metallogenesis at the Troodos spreading axis. In: Ophiolites and Oceanic Lithosphere (I.G. Gass, S.J. Lippard & A.W. Shelton, editors). Geological Society of London, Special Publications, No. 13, 169-81.
Casey , J.F. and Dewey, J.F. 1984. Initiation of subduction zones along transform and accreting plate boundaries, triple-junction evolution, and forearc spreading centres - implications for ophiolite geology and obduction. In: Ophiolites and Oceanic Lithosphere (I.G. Gass, S.J. Lippard & A.W. Shelton; eds.). Geological Society of London, Special Publication, No.13, pp. 269-290.
Christou , D. 2001 (Eighth edition). Kourion: Its Monuments and Local Museum. Filokipros Publishing Co. Ltd. By Dr Demos Christou, archaeologist, Director of the Department of Antiquities, Cyprus. 93 pp. Paperback with good colour illustrations and maps. It contains a bibliography of archaeological literature on Kourion. This English language version can be purchased at the museum of the monument.
Extract from the Preface: This new guide to Kourion is based on literary sources and archaeological evidence and aspires to depict to the general public a clear picture of the cultural setting and identity of this significant ancient Cypriot city. All the monumental remains of Kourion uncovered so far at the main city site and outside the city walls are described in detail and illustrated in colour plates and figures. General references to the traditional and historical background of the city, the regional sites and the excavations carried out by foreign missions as well as by the Cyprus Department of Antiquities provide supplementary information for the visitor. The presentation and description of representative types of pottery, sculpture and various other movable finds from the main city site and its environs, exhibited in the local Museum of Kourion at Episkopi village, are also included to give a more complete picture to the visitor. At the end of the book a glossary explains scientific terms appearing in the text and an extensive bibliography lists all the books, articles and other publications written about Kourion and to which the reader is referred for more detailed information. [continues with acknowledgements].
Constantinou , G. and Govett, G.J.S. 1972. Genesis of sulphide deposits, ochre and umber of Cyprus. Transaction sof the Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, Section B, 81, B34-B46.

Constantinou, G. and Govett, G.J.S. 1973. Geology, geochemistry and genesis of Cyprus sulphide deposits. Economic Geology, 68, 843-58.
Devillers , B., 2005. Morphogenèse et anthropisation holocène d'un bassin versant semi-aride: le Gialias, Chypre [Cyprus], PhD thesis. Université de Provence, Aix-en-Provence. [referred to by Marriner and Morhange, not seen]
Dreghorn , W. 1973. Guide to the Troodos Mountains . Nicosia, Cyprus. Paperback booklet by William Dreghorn. 32 pages with monochrome sketches.
Erol , O. (1991) Turkey and Cyprus, In: The World Coastline. E. Bird and M. Schwartz (Eds.) 491-500, Van Nostrand Reinfold Company, New York.
Farrell , S.G. and Eaton, S. 1987. Slump strain in the Tertiary of Cyprus and the Spanish Pyrenees. Definition of palaeoslopes and models of soft sediment deformation. In: Deformation of Sediments and Sedimentary Rocks. Jones, M.E. and R.M.F. Preston; editors) Geological Society of London, Special Publication, No. 29, 181-96.
Gass, I.G. 1989. Magmatic processes at and near constructive plate margins as deduced from the Troodos (Cyprus) and Semail Nappe (N. Oman) ophiolites. In: Magmatism in the Ocean Basins. (Saunders, A.D. and Norry, M.J., editors) Geological Society of London, Special Publication, No. 42, 1-15.

Gass, I.G. 1990. Ophiolites and oceanic lithosphere. In: Ophiolites; ocean crust analogues; proceedings of the symposium "Troodos 1987", edited by Malpas, J. Moores, E.M., Panayiotou, A. and Xenophontes, C. Nicosia, Cyprus, Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, pp. 655-664.

Gass , I.G. and Masson-Smith, D. 1963. The geology and gravity anomalies of the Troodos Massif, Cyprus. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, London, Series A, Vol. 255, pp. 417-67.

Gass, I.G. and Smewing, J.D. 1973. Intrusion, Extrusion and Metamorphism at Constructive Margins: Evidence from the Troodos Massif, Cyprus. Nature, London, 242, 26-9.

Greenbaum , D. 1977. The Chromitiferous Rocks of the Troodos Ophiolite Complex, Cyprus. Economic Geology, 72, 1175-1194.
Greensmith, T. 1994 (reprinted 1998). Southern Cyprus. Geologists' Association Guide No. 50. 146pp.
Example extract (p.5): The Geological Framework of Cyprus: The geology of Cyprus is a subject of unending controversy for countless geologists and has been so for many decades. Distilling the essence out of the various and often contradictory arguments put forward in the now extensive scientific literature is akin to exercising the Judgement of Solomon. Most of the detailed petrological and tectonic work has been on the remarkably well-exposed and world-famous ophiolite (igneous) complex, which outcrops in the Troodos mountains and adjacent Limassol Forest area, so this complex will be described in some detail. In simple terms, Cyprus is presently located in an actively unstable zone between two major plate-like masses. To the south and southwest is the African Plate, which since early Mesozoic times has been moving relative to a northern mass, known as the Eurasian Plate. A much smaller mobile plate, the Arabian Plate, impinges against both in the vicinity of the Dead Sea and Red Sea. The island and its immediate surrounds appear to be a segment of oceanic crust and mantle separated from the edge of one of the two major plates by rift-faulting, possibly during Triassic times (about 230 million years ago). The segment, or microplate, now consists in part of the Troodos ophiolite, for which there is indirect geomagnetic evidence of its initiation during the middle of Cretaceous times (about 95 million years ago) and which formed during a phase of constructive growth (spreading) of the sea-floor. (Although sometimes referred to as the Turkey or Anatolian Plate this Guide adopts, for convenience, the nontechnical, informal term 'Cyprus Microplate'; it has no status in the literature). [continues]
Henson , F.R.S., Browne, R.V. and McGinty, J. 1949. A synopsis of the stratigraphy and geological history of Cyprus. Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, London, vol. 105, pp. 1-41.
Cyprus lies in the eastern Mediterranean region and its northern (Kyrenia) mountain range, trending approximately west-east and thrust to the south, forms part of the southernmost loop of the Tauric arc of Suess, which extends towards the north-east through Hatay (Alexandretta) and north-western Syria. The island is divisible into the following belts, trending approximately west-east and differentiated by their geomorphology and stratigraphy.
(1) A narrow, northern, coastal belt of Upper Senonian, Eocene, Miocene and Pliocene marine sediments dipping unconformably off the Kyrenia range to the south.
(2) The Kyrenia mountain-range with upthrust slices of Triassic red beds and radiolarites, slightly metamorphosed Jurassic limestones, green igneous rocks, and tectonically displaced, unconformable younger sediments.
(3) The Mesaoria plain, with sharply folded, marine foredeep deposits ranging at least from Upper Cretaceous to Pliocene, and unconformably overlapping the south flank of the Kyrenia range. .
(4) The central, basic igneous massif of the Troodos mountains, with plutonic, hyperbyssal and eruptive rocks, giving evidence of recurrent igneous activity in Mesozoic and (?)Tertiary times. Eocene to Pliocene marine sediments of the Mesaoria basin overlap tmconformably on the north flank of Troodos.
(5) The southern foothill belt of buckled Upper Senonian, Eocene, Miocene and Pliocene marine beds, flanking Troodos unconformably to the south and exposing intensely faulted inliers of Triassic red beds, limestones, contorted radiolarites, and contemporaneous volcanic rocks. Post-Triassic basic igneous extrusions penetrate these inliers.
Thus the exposed geology of Cyprus shows marine Upper Cretaceous and Tertiary sediments resting unconformably on a Mesozoic (pre-Cretaceous) foundation. Kober (1915) includes the island in the border zone of the Tauric nappes, but the authors regard Cyprus, south of the Kyrenia range, as a fragment of the Syrian foreland now separated by submerged gmben from its continuation on the Syrian mainland, which it resembles in its stratigraphy.
The stratigraphy has been considerably revised in detail.
Marine sedimentary cycles, separated by unconformities, were as follows: Triassic-Jurassic, with some doubt as to the relationship between formations of the two periods; Upper Senonian-Oligocene, with a local regression between Maestrichtian and Lutetian; Miocene, with a transgressive maximum in Vindobonian times; Pliocene, with an intermediate regression.
The main thrusting of the Kyrenia range corresponds with the Savian and Attic movements; general emergence followed the Pliocene.
Volcanic activity occurred in the Triassic, Jurassic-Middle Cretaceous interval, Senonian, and Vindobonian (slight).
Kahler , G. 1994. Stratigraphy and Sedimentology of the Paleogene Lefkara Formation, Cyprus. Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis, Southampton University.

Kahler , G. and Stow, D.A.V. 1998. Turbidites and contourites of the Palaeogene Lefkara Formation, southern Cyprus. Sedimentary Geology, vol. 115, pp. 215-231.
Abstract: Deposition of the Palaeogene to early Neogene calcareous and siliceous deep-water sediments of the Lefkara Formation in Cyprus was successively dominated by pelagic, turbidity current, a return to pelagic and then bottom-current processes. Sedimentation occurred on the distal parts of a carbonate slope-apron to basin plain setting located in the western arm of the Tethys Ocean. The early phase of sedimentation directly overlying ocean crust ridge-derived volcaniclastics and chemogenic sediments, was dominated by pelagic deposition of marl, marly chalk and radiolarian-rich ca1cilutite. This was followed by a gradual increase in the influx of biogenic turbidites (fonning both chalk and chert deposits) from the north during the Early and Middle Eocene period, primarily as a response to tectonic uplift of the Kyrenia Range. Slower rates of sedimentation returned during the Late Eocene to Early Miocene, together with significant hiatuses in the sedimentary record. Together these reflect the cessation of turbidity current input, continued pelagic deposition and the onset of bottom-current inftuence on sedimentation. A combination of subtle features and supporting evidence allows the recognition of contourites in all the sections studied, together with the interaction of turbidity current and bottom-current processes in parts of the Letkara Formation.
Knapp , A.B., Held, S.O. and Manning, S. W. 1994. The prehistory of Cyprus: problems and prospects. Journal of World Prehistory. Springer, Netherlands. Volume 8, No. 4, December 1994, pp. 377-453. By A. Bernard Knapp, Steve O. Held and Sturt W. Manning.
Abstract The archaeological record of prehistoric Cyprus is rich, diverse, well-published, and frequently enigmatic. Regarded by many as a bridge between western Asia and the Aegean, Cyprus and its past are frequently seen from scholarly perspectives prevalent in one of those two cultural areas. Its material culture, however, differs radically from that of either area. Apart from the early colonization episodes on the island (perhaps three during the pre-Neolithic and Neolithic), evidence of foreign contact remains limited until the Bronze Age (post-2500 B.C.). This study seeks to present the prehistory of Cyprus from an indigenous perspective, and to examine a series of archaeological problems that foreground Cyprus within its eastern Mediterranean context. The study begins with an overview of time, place, and the nature of fieldwork on the island, continues with a presentation and discussion of several significant issues in Cypriot prehistory (e.g., insularity, colonization, subsistence, regionalism, interaction, social complexity, economic diversity), and concludes with a brief discussion of prospects for the archaeology of Cyprus up to and beyond 2000.
Kythreoti , S. and Pilakoutas, K. 2000. Earthquake Risk Assessment Case Study: Cyprus. Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK.
This is online as a PDF file at: Earthquake Risk Assessment Case Study: Cyprus, by Stella Kythreoti and Kypros Pilakoutas, of the Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK
Malpas , J. and Robinson, P.T. 1990. Regional tectonics of the eastern Mediterranean ophiolites. In: J. Malpas, E.M. Moores, A. Panayiotou and C. Xenophontos, Editors, Ophiolites, Oceanic Crustal Analogues, Geological Survey Department, Nicosia, Cyprus (1990), pp. 295–309.

Malpas, J., Xenophontos, C. and Williams, D. 1992. The Ayia Varvara Formation of S.W. Cyprus, a product of complex collisional tectonics. Tectonophysics, 212 (1992), pp. 193–211.

Malpas , J., Calon, T. and Squires, G. 1993., The development of a Late Cretaceous microplate suture zone in S.W. Cyprus. In: H.M. Prichard, T. Alabaster, N.B.W. Harris and C.R. Neary, Editors, Magmatic Processes and Plate Tectonics. Geological Society of London, Special Publication, 76, pp. 177–196.
Mandel , R.D. and Simmon, A.H. 1997. Geoarchaeology of the Akrotiri Aetokremnos Rockshelter, Southern Cyprus. Geoarchaeology, 12, No. 6, 567-605. By Rolfe D. Mandel, Department of Geography, University of Kansas, and Alan H. Simmons, Department of Anthropology, University of Nevada at Las Vegas.
Abstract: Akrotiri Aetokremnos is a collapsed rockshelter on the southern coast of Cyprus. Excavations revealed a 1-m-thick package of sandy deposits preserved beneath massive rooffall blocks. These deposits contained cultural materials in direct association with extinct pygmy hippopotamus and other fauna. Based on 31 radiocarbon assays, the site was occupied around 10,600 B.P. Four major stratigraphic units were defined, with cultural features and artifacts concentrated in Strata 2 and 4. Most of the sediments that accumulated in the rockshelter are a product of roof fall, disintegration of bedrock (attrition), and wind action. In addition, a small volume of slopewash entered the back of the shelter through solution cavities and is confined to less than 5% of the site. Although some of the strata have been slightly affected by leaching and clay translocation, there is no evidence of soil development in the shelter. The physical and geochemical properties of the strata indicate that the sediments and associated cultural materials rapidly accumulated on the floor of the shelter soon before the roof collapsed and isolated the underlying deposits from subareal weathering and other site-disturbance processes.
Mantis, M. 1970. Upper Cretaceous - Tertiary foraminiferal zones in Cyprus. Scientific Research Centre of Cyprus, Epithyris 3, pp. 227-241.
Marriner , N. and Morhange, C. 2006 online (2007 - printed?). Geoscience of ancient Mediterranean harbours. Earth Science Reviews. By Nick Marriner, and Christophe Morhange. Available online 21 December 2006.
Abstract: Although much has been written on the subject of ancient Mediterranean harbours, the relatively new area of harbour geoarchaeology remains dispersed in the geoscience and archaeological literature. Over a decade of research has amassed rich and varied datasets of anthropogenically forced coastal evolution, with a remarkable number of between-site analogies. This new research field also shows the rich potential of geoscience to reconcile important archaeological questions. No single publication, however, has yet drawn on these geological patterns to yield a detailed overview suitable for geoscientists and environmental archaeologists. The aim of this review article is to (1) discuss how ancient harbours have come to be preserved in the geological record; (2) expound the basic principles and palaeoenvironmental tools underpinning ancient harbour geoarchaeology; (3) outline some of the most significant research advances made; and (4) discuss a new chrono-stratigraphic model applicable to harbour sequences.
Moores , E.M. and Vine, F.J., 1971. The Troodos Massif, Cyprus and other opbiolites as oceanic crust: evolution and implications. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, London, Series A, vol. 268, 443-466.
Open University . 1991. The Ocean Basins: their Structure and Evolution. Pergamon Press, Oxford.
Poole , A.J., Shimmield, G.B. and Robertson, A.H.F. 1990 Late Quaternary uplift of the Troodos ophiolite, Cyprus: Uranium-series dating of Pleistocene coral. Geology, 18, pp. 894-97.
Poulakakis , N., Parmakelis, A., Lymberakis, P., Mylonas, M., Zouros, E., Reese, D.S., Glaberman, S. & Caccone, A., 2006. Ancient DNA forces reconsideration of evolutionary history of Mediterranean pygmy elephantids. Biology Letters (published by the Royal Society), vol. 2, No. 3, September 22 2006, 451-454.
During the Pleistocene pygmy elephantids, some only a quarter of their ancestors' size, were present on Mediterranean islands until about 10000 years ago (y.a.). Using a new methodology for ancient DNA (aDNA) studies, the whole genomic multiple displacement amplification method, we were able to retrieve cytochrome b (cytb) DNA fragments from 4200 to 800000 y.a. specimens from island and mainland samples, including pygmy and normal-sized forms. The short DNA sequence (43bp) retrieved from the 800000 y.a. sample is one of the oldest DNA fragment ever retrieved. Duplication of the experiments in two laboratories, the occurrence of three diagnostic sites and the results of the phylogenetic analyses strongly support its authenticity. Our results challenge the prevailing view that pygmy elephantids of the eastern Mediterranean originated exclusively from Elephas, suggesting independent histories of dwarfism and the presence of both pygmy mammoths and elephant-like taxa on these islands. Based on our molecular data, the origin of the Tilos and Cyprus elephantids from a lineage within the genus Elephas is confirmed, while the DNA sequence from the Cretan sample falls clearly within the mammoth clade. Thus, the name Mammuthus creticus rather than Elephas creticus, seems to be justified for this form. Our findings also suggest a need to re-evaluate the evolutionary history of the Sicilian/Maltese species, traditionally included in the genus Elephas.
Pritchard , H.M. and Maliotis, 1998. Gold mineralisation associated with low temperature, off-axis, fluid activity in the Troodos ophiolite, Cyprus. Journal of the Geological Society, London, 155, pp. 223-231.
Reed , F.C. 1930. Contributions to the geology of Cyprus. Geological Magazine, vol. 67, pp. 241-271.
Robertson , A.H.R, 1975. Studies of the Pre-Miocene Sedimentary Cover of the Troodos Massif, Cyprus. PhD Thesis, University of Leicester.

Robertson, A.H.F., 1976. Pelagic chalks and calciturbidites from the Lower Tertiary of the Troodos Massif, Cyprus. Journal of Sedimentimentary Petrology, 46 (4), 1007-1016.

Robertson, A.H.F. 1977. Tertiary uplift of the Troodos Massif, Cyprus. Geological Society of America Bulletin, vol. 88, 1763-72.

Robertson, A.H.F. 1977. The Moni Melange, Cyprus: an olistostrome formed at a destructive plate margin. Journal of the Geological Society, London, vol. 133, pp. 447-66.

Robertson, A.H.F. 1977. The Kannaviou Formation, Cyprus: volcanic1astic sedimentation of a probable late Cretaceous volcanic arc. Journal of the Geological Society, London, vol. 134, pp. 269-92.

Robertson, A.H.F., 1990. Tectonic evolution of Cyprus. In: Malpas, J., Moores, E.M., Panayiotou, A., Xenophontos, C. (Bds.), Ophiolites Oceanic Crust Analogues. Proceedings of the Symposium - 'Troodos 87', Geological Survey Department, Nicosia. pp. 235-250.

Robertson, A.H.F. 2000. Tectonic evolution of Cyprus in its eastern Mediterranean setting. Proceedings of the Third International Conference on the Geology of the Eastern Mediterranean. Edited by Panayides, I, Xenophontes, C. and Malpas, J., Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment, Geological Survey Department, Nicosia, Cyprus, 2000.

Robertson, A.H.F. 2002. Overview of the genesis and emplacement of Mesozoic ophiolites in the Eastern Mediterranean Tethyan region. Lithos, vol. 65, parts 1-2, pp. 1-67.
Abstract: The Eastern Mediterranean region exhibits a fascinating diversity of ophiolites and related oceanic magmatic units of mainly Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous age. Comparisons with the settings of modern oceanic lithosphere indicate that the various Eastern Mediterranean ophiolites have different origins and formed in a variety of tectonic settings. Some have argued that the largest ophiolites, of Jurassic and Cretaceous age (e.g. Troodos), formed at mid-ocean ridges. However, the widespread occurrence of andesitic extrusives, chemically ''depleted'' basalts and highly magnesian lavas (boninites), favour formation of most of the large, relatively intact ophiolites in the Eastern Mediterranean region above subduction zones rather than at mid-ocean ridges (MORs). Such ophiolites probably formed by spreading during the initial stages of intra-oceanic subduction, prior to the emergence of any major related oceanic arc. Supra-subduction-type ophiolites typically formed during short-lived periods (less than 5 Ma) of regional plate re-organisation. By contrast, most MOR-type oceanic crust was subducted, or is preserved only as dismembered thrust sheets or blocks in ophiolitic melange, commonly metamorphosed under high-pressure/low-temperature (HP/LT) conditions. However, MOR-type ophiolites are locally preserved (e.g. Jurassic Western-type Albanian ophiolite). Seamounts were preferentially accreted into melanges and record subduction of large areas of oceanic crust. Volcanic-sedimentary units of mainly Triassic age, including alkaline to MOR-type extrusives and radiolarites record rifting, transitional to spreading of Neotethyan ocean basins. Back-arc, intra-continental marginal basins of Triassic and Late Jurassic age developed within the northerly (Eurasian) continental margin (e.g. Jurassic Guevgueli ophiolite, N Greece). Ophiolites formed in these basins were exposed by uplift, without significant transport. Transform-influenced ophiolites are occasionally preserved (e.g. Late Cretaceous Tekirova ophiolite, SW Turkey). Metamorphic soles reflect tectonic displacement of oceanic lithosphere while still hot, near a spreading centre (whether of mid-ocean ridge or supra-subduction type). The Eastern Mediterranean subduction-type ophiolites, of both Jurassic and Cretaceous age, were rooted in several coeval Neotethyan oceanic basins, separated by microcontinents and cannot be interpreted as vast, far traveled thrust sheets derived (at different times) from a single, palaeogeographically simple Tethyan oceanic basin.

Robertson, A.H.F, Clift, P.D., Degnan, P.J. and Jones, G. 1991. Palaeogeographical and palaeotectonic evolution of the eastern Mediterranean Neotethys. Palaeoceanography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 87 (1991), pp. 289–343.

Robertson, A.H.F and Hudson, J.D., 1973. Cyprus umbers: chemical precipitates on a Tetbyan ocean ridge. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 18, pp. 93-101.

Robertson, A.H.F and Hudson, J.D., 1974. Pelagic sediments in the Cretaceous and Tertiary history of the Troodos Massif. Cyprus. International Association of Sedimentologists, Special Publication, 1, pp. 403-436.

Robertson A.H.F. and Woodcock, N.H. 1979. The Mamonia Complex, southwest Cyprus: the evolution and emplacement of a Mesozoic continental margin. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 90, 651-665.

Robertson, A.H.F. and Woodcock, N.H. 1980. Tectonic setting of the Troodos massif in the eastern Mediterranean. In: Ophiolites. Proceedings of the International Ophiolite Symposium, Cyprus, 1979, pp. 36-49.

Robertson, A.B.F. and Woodcock, N .H., 1986. The role of the Kyrenia Range lineament, Cyprus, in the geological evolution of the eastern Mediterranean area. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, London, Series A, vol, 317, pp. 141-177.

Robertson. A.H.F.. Baton, S., Follows, E.J. and McCallum, J.E., 1991. The role of local tectonics versus global sea-level changes in the Neogene evolution of the Cyprus active margin. International Association of Sedimentogists, Special Publication, 12, 331-369.
Robinson and Malpas, 1990. P.T. Robinson and J. Malpas , The Troodos Ophiolite of Cyprus: new perspectives on its origin and emplacement. In: J. Malpas, E.M. Moores, A. Panayiotou and C. Xenophontos, Editors, Ophiolites: Oceanic Crustal Analogues, Cyprus Geological Survey Department., Nicosia (1990), pp. 13–36.

Robinson et al., 1983. P.T. Robinson, W.G. Melson, T. O'Hearn and H.-U. Schmincke , Volcanic glass compositions of the Troodos ophiolite. Cyprus Geology, 11 (1983), pp. 400–404.
Schmincke , H.D., Rautenschlein, M., Robinson, P.T. and Mehegan, ].M. 1983. Troodos extrusive series of Cyprus: A comparison with oceanic crust. Geology, 11,405-9.
Simmons , A.H. 1999. Pygmy Hippopotamus Hunters of Cyprus - Interdisciplinary Contributions to Archaeology. Kuwer Academic / Plenum Publishers, 1999. Hardcover. 381pp. Major book on Aetokremnos By Professor Alan Simmons, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Nevada at Los Vegas, Akrotiri. Price approximately £80 in the UK.

Simmons, A. H. 2005. Ancient cultures in arid lands. UNLV Fusion, of the University of Nevada at Los Vegas, 2005. This consists of 3 pages of a magazine or newsletter, although written by someone else, is about Professor Alan Simmons, author of the book above on Aetokremnos and the hunters of pygmy hippopotami of Cyprus.
Example extracts:
Anthropology professor Alan Simmons [of the University of Nevada at Los Vegas - UNLV] explores how the social and economic changes that occurred 10,000 years ago in the Middle East forever altered the human experience.
About 10,000 years ago, humankind experienced a dramatic transformation known as the Neolithic Revolution. It was during this time that the peoples of the Middle East began to cultivate and produce their own food rather than hunt and gather it. Consequently, nomadic existence gave way to the development of village life, and farming and domestication of animals became common.
For UNLV anthropology professor Alan Simmons, the Neolithic Revolution remains the single-most fascinating period in human history - so fascinating, in fact, that he has spent his life's work devoted to its study. "The Neolithic Revolution truly changed the social fabric of life," says Dr. Simmons, who joined the UNLV faculty in 1993 and now chairs the department of anthropology and ethnic studies. "For literally millions of years, we had been hunters and gatherers. But when we settled down into village life and started producing food, we set the stage for the present world. Without the Neolithic Revolution - without the security provided by domestic plants and animals, without the population growth that results from village living - we never would have developed complex urban societies."... [continues]
Once the Neolithic Revolution became established on the Near Eastern mainland, he says, it was inevitable that the radical changes it brought would spread to surrounding areas. Neolithic economies ultimately reached Europe but the exact trajectory of this is unclear. Along the way, it appears that several Mediterranean islands were colonized; conventional wisdom has suggested that this occurred relatively late in the Neolithic sequence. This assumption, however, has been questioned by Simmons and his research team since they discovered that the first occupants on the island of Cyprus appeared around 12,000 years ago and were actually pre-Neolithic hunter-gatherers.
"Our excavations at Akrotiri Aetokremnos on Cyprus generated considerable controversy." Simmons says. noting that his findings implicate humans in the extinction of a native species of pygmy hippopotamus on the island. "We found the fossilized remains of several hundred of the small hippopotami. as well as cultural artifacts indicating that humans had hunted the animals." These materials predated the Neolithic Revolution and challenged the assumption that colonization of the Mediterranean islands occurred much later. Simmons' discovery there also established a chronological benchmark from which researchers would go on to investigate subsequent Neolithic developments. Since Akrotiri Aetokremnos, new research by British and French investigators has shortened the gap between the "Akrotiri Phase" and the traditional Neolithic period, establishing a previously unknown, earlier Neolithic period. In addition, the French research group also documented the presence of cattle on the island during this earlier period; previous research had indicated the presence of cattle much later in the Bronze Age (around 2,500 BC.).
Simonian , K.O. and Gass, I.G. 1978. The Arakapas fault belt, Cyprus: a fossil transform fault. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 89, 1220-1230.
Swarbrick , R.E. and Naylor, M.A. 1980. The Kathikas melange, SW Cyprus: late Cretaceous submarine debris flows. Sedimentology, vol. 27, pp. 63-78.
Swiny, S. (Editor). 2001. The Earliest Prehistory of Cyprus; From Colonization to Exploitation. Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute, Monograph Series, volume 2. Edited by Stuart Swiny. American Schools of Oriental Research, Boston, MA. Library of Congress cataloguing GN855.C93E27 2001. ISBN 0-89757-051-0.
Varga , R.J. and Moores, E.M. 1985. Spreading structure of the Troodos ophiolite, Cyprus. Geology, 13, 846-50.
Wilson , R.A.M. and Ingham, F.T. 1959. The Geology and Mineral Resources of the Xeros-Troodos Area. Memoir No. 1, Geological Survey, Cyprus.

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