New Petrified Forest Uncovered on Evia, Greece

Petrified Forest Evia Greece
Numerous fragments of fossilized trunks were found lying within lake sediments. Credit: AMNA

A new petrified forest is brought to light in the area of Kerasia in northern Evia, Greek scientists announced this week.

An ancient forest that has been fossilized was discovered. Trees are buried by sediment and over millions of years, their organic materials are slowly replaced by minerals, most commonly silica. The result was petrified wood, which is a perfect replica of the original tree, but turned to stone.

The excavation on the island of Evia was carried out by the Museum of Natural History of the Lesvos Petrified Forest which has important expertise in the preservation of natural heritage.

Excavation research in northern Evia began in October 2022 and continues to this day. It has brought to light a large number of fossilized trunks and leafy horizons. In particular, the excavations are being carried out in the fossil-bearing area of 1.7 hectares, which belongs to the Region of Central Greece and has been fenced off.

Petrified forest on Evia dates from the Miocene epoch

During their time, numerous fragments of fossilized trunks and foliar horizons were found lying within lake sediments. The excavation research is being carried out at the sites where there were clues and has so far brought to light more than 160 fossilized trunks and parts of trees.

The director of the Museum of Natural History of the Petrified Forest of Lesvos, Professor Nikos Zouros, who directs the excavation works, said to Athens-Macedonian News Agency that, “in the first of the fossil-bearing areas that have already been excavated, 58 fossilized trunks and large parts of them were discovered and preserved.”

He added that numerous detached parts of trunks and twigs were collected during the excavation, which were preserved for their preservation.

“The new fossil-bearing sites that have come to light compose the image of the subtropical forest, mainly with coniferous and broad-leaved trees that existed in the area of today’s northern Evia during the Miocene period,” he added.

The Miocene epoch was a period in Earth’s history that lasted from about 23.03 million years ago to 5.33 million years ago.

The morphological features of the fossilized trunks (bark, growth rings) and the internal structure of the petrified wood are very well preserved and therefore make it easier to determine the genus and species of the tree from which they come, the Greek professor said.

Lesvos petrified forest

The most famous petrified forest in Greece is on Lesvos. Two-million-year-old fossils were uncovered in December 2021 in a surprise find that shows very large mammals including horses, cattle, deer, and antelope once grazed the verdant slopes.

The bones of these and smaller animals, including lagomorphs, resembling today’s rabbits, were uncovered at the site near Thermi on the eastern side of the island. The western side of Lesvos is famous for its enormous petrified forests, with mineralized logs from that era being found all the time.

This find draws special attention to the eastern part of Lesvos, making the island almost akin to a Jurassic Park, showcasing all the flora and fauna that once lived there.

Related: The Three Million-Year-Old Petrified Forest in Greece

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