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The Kakkaristra Canyon

In the Kakkaristra rivulet, which is a confluent of Kaloyeros river, about 500 metres to the southwest of Latsia, a small canyon has been formed. The strata appearing in its beds depict and corroborate the late stages of Cyprus' emergence from the sea, one million and eight hundred thousand years ago.

In the lower parts of the canyon beds appear strata of the Nicosia Formation suppressed by strata of the Kakkaristra Formation, which appear in the higher points of the beds. In Geology, the term “Formation” is a group of strata that have the same age, composition and process of formation.

The Nicosia Formation belongs to the Pliocene epoch (1,8 - 5 million years ago) and consists of fossiliferous grey or yellow marls and biocalcarenites (sedimentary marls). In the beds of the canyon appear the upper scopes of the Nicosia Formation, which are impressively fossiliferous. Layers appear consisting almost entirely of conch fossils of the species Ostrea edulis and Ballanus tintinabulum. The first species is an elasmobranchium and the second one is a cirrose. These are cases of death societies that occurred from the aggregate death of biocommunities due to the abrupt change of marine conditions, and probably because of the change in the salinity of the water. The change in salinity was a matter of course, because of the rise of Cyprus, as well as the climatic changes, such as the succession of humid and dry seasons.

Detailed geological studies have shown that the Kakkaristra Formation strata do not exhibit uniform diffusion, but appear locally in various areas to the south of Nicosia, with the Kakkaristra canyon being their most characteristic and important appearance. That's why these strata have been given the name “Kakkaristra Formation”. This formation laterally falls to the Athalassa Formation, with which it has the same age. In the Kakkaristra region, the homonymous geological formation is about 15 metres thick. It consists at its base of fine-grained, brittle and intercalated biocalcarenites, which are aloft succeed by fossiliferous marls with thin layers of sandstones and on top by freshwater limestone. From the study of the formation fossils, stems that it were, in its largest part, deposited in subsaline water and the upper in fresh water. The trionyx turtle is among the fossils found in the upper scope.

The Kakkaristra formation is succeeded aloft by the Apalos Formation. The typical appearance of this formation is found ι n the homonymous hill dominating the Kakkaristra canyon. In the region in question, the formation is up to 65 metres thick and consists of horizontal layers of freshwater depositions, such as sandstones, conglomerates, marls, sands, as well as windy sediments. It belongs to the Sicilian age, i.e. 700.000 to 1.000.000 years ago. The Apalos Formation marks the end of the sedimentation cycle in hydrous environment in the Mesaoria basin.

John Panayides, Geologist, Department of Geological Survey, May 25th, 1998 (Environmental Symposium of Latsia Municipality).

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