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Lost City of Zakynthos: Natural Geological Formation

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  • Lost City of Zakynthos: Natural Geological Formation

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    Underwater ‘lost city’ found to be geological formation

    The ancient underwater remains of a long lost Greek city were in fact created by a naturally occurring phenomenon – according to joint research from the University of East Anglia and the University of Athens (Greece).

    When underwater divers discovered what looked like paved floors, courtyards and colonnades, they thought they had found the ruins of a long-forgotten civilization that perished when tidal waves hit the shores of the Greek holiday island Zakynthos.

    But new research published today reveals that the site was created by a natural geological phenomenon that took place in the Pliocene era - up to five million years ago.

    Lead author Prof Julian Andrews, from UEA’s School of Environmental Sciences, said: “The site was discovered by snorkelers and first thought to be an ancient city port, lost to the sea. There were what superficially looked like circular column bases, and paved floors. But mysteriously no other signs of life – such as pottery.”

    [...]

    “The disk and doughnut morphology, which looked a bit like circular column bases, is typical of mineralization at hydrocarbon seeps - seen both in modern seafloor and palaeo settings.

    “We found that the linear distribution of these doughnut shaped concretions is likely the result of a sub-surface fault which has not fully ruptured the surface of the sea bed. The fault allowed gases, particularly methane, to escape from depth.

    “Microbes in the sediment use the carbon in methane as fuel. Microbe-driven oxidation of the methane then changes the chemistry of the sediment forming a kind of natural cement, known to geologists as concretion.

    “In this case the cement was an unusual mineral called dolomite which rarely forms in seawater, but can be quite common in microbe-rich sediments.

    [...]

    https://www.uea.ac.uk/about/-/underw...ical-formation
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