The geological “mysteries” of Kefalonia: Groundwater, caves and Lake Melissani

The Kefalonia is one of the largest Greek islands, but also one which brings together various ” mysteries ” that are mainly related to the geology of. In general, the nature of Kefalonia offers great emotions to its visitors: Myrtos , its most famous beach, is breathtaking, Ainos , its highest mountain, is called “black mountain” because of the dark Kefalonian fir that covers it. The famous wild horses of Kefalonia also live in Ainos , which are not tamed by anyone and live freely on the mountain.

But what makes Kefalonia really special is its geology – what exists in the bowels of the island and only a part of them, usually, we see on the surface. Already by the 19th the century , under English domination, various scholars visited Kefalonia observing these mysteries, by recording and studying. Today, the science of geology that has recorded the phenomena on the island has given complete scientific explanations for what “mysteries” the visitor sees, but again, he continues to be enchanted by the wonders he sees in front of him.

The groundwater of Kefalonia is the most interesting, as in a strange way the waters are ” mixed ” from one side to the other, the fresh water of the land with the salt of the sea and all this creating landscapes of unique beauty. It is true that the specific position of the island – at the junction of two tectonic plates of the Earth – is what “explains” in part how all this is gathered there, but it is worth everyone to see and admire them up close.

The Sinks of Argostoli

Perhaps the most important of the geological phenomena of Kefalonia, Katavothres is observed at the cape of Agios Theodoros, next to Fanari , the lighthouse of Argostoli, which is the capital and largest city of the island. In the Sinks , seawater rushes into the ground – this, after all, is a ” sink “: A rift in the ground , into which water flows. First seem observed and recorded the effect the Englishman Stevens , the 19 the century. He, in fact, decided to take advantage of the momentum of the waters as they were lost in Katavothres, building at this point a watermill , which is still in place today.

What makes Katavothres in Kefalonia unique is that they cross the whole island underground , from west to east, a distance of about 15 kilometers ! The experiment, which confirmed the suspicions of many scientists, took place in 1963 : Geologists Viktor Maurin and Josef Zetl of the Technical University of Graz in Austria threw 160 kilograms of paint into one of the Katavas. Two weeks later, traces of this paint were found in the waters of the other side of the island , in the gulf of Sami, in Karavomylos and in the lake cave of Melissani.

The Melissani Lake Cave

Unique colors and a world-rare geological phenomenon are seen by those who visit Melissani . The lake cave is located 2 km northwest of Sami, in Karavomylos . The natural entrance of the cave is vertical (dimensions 40 × 50 m.) And was created by the fall of a part of the roof, most likely by an earthquake . The lake of the cave is located 20 m. Below the ground surface , it is 160 m long . about and depth from 10 m to 40 m . Stalactites of age 20,000 years, with strange shapes, adorn most of the cave. At one end of the cave an island is formed , on which worship objects of the god Pan were found , certifying the use of the place as a place of worship in prehistoric times. The Cave Lake got its name either from the legend of the Nymph Melissani who committed suicide here because the god Pan denied her, or from the tradition that wants the shepherdess Melissanthi to be killed by falling into the lake, while chasing one of her sheep.

Today, it can be visited from an artificial entrance , which through an underground tunnel leads to the main hall. The tour is done by boats along the entire length of the lake, while the uncovered part of the main hall allows sunlight to enter the cave and give visitors unique images of incredible beauty.

Karavomylos and its lake

The Karavomilos is a picturesque seaside village , next to the grotto of Melissani . According to the experiment we mentioned earlier and which was carried out by Austrian geologists in 1963 in Kefalonia, Karavomylos is the place where the water ends from the Sinks of Argostoli , after crossing half of the island underground.

The traditional watermill on the edge of the beach of Karavomylos, is one of the most characteristic images of the area. Just behind, an artificial “lake” surrounded by lush, green vegetation, completes the unique landscape. Its waters are in fact brackish , as the sea water is mixed with sweet from underground sources.

Lake Abythos

For the lake Abythos of Kefalonia , for centuries, the locals believed that it has no bottom – hence the specific name, which is also found as “Akoli”. It is the only natural lake of the island and is located in the southeastern part, near the village of Agios Nikolaos in the province of Poros. As no one attempted or even succeeded in measuring its depth, thousands of beliefs and local stories were created that refer to this mystery of the lake. on a rope. The results dispelled the illusions: “Just” 11 meters deep ! Scientific research, however, has confirmed thatthe waters of Lake Abythos communicate underground with the waters that come from other areas of the island , such as from the Sinks of Argostoli and Melissani – connecting it with the other, greater mystery of the natural and geological phenomena of Kefalonia!

Kounopetra, the rock that moves

Kefalonia even has a rock that “shakes” in the sea, among its geological mysteries. The truth is that Kounopetra , as a large rock in the sea is called in the southern part of the Paliki peninsula, has stopped moving, as modern science confirms . However, the evidence says that at least until the middle of the 20th century the rock was in a very slow but unstoppable motion and that the phenomenon could be observed with the naked eye for hundreds of years! It did not show much motion to change its location, but it was an immobile geological formation, until recently scientists could give a logical explanation. It is also said that the ” earthquakes ” for the movement of the rock were the great earthquakes of 1953 , since since then the phenomenon has decreased significantly, to a point where today it is now imperceptible.

The geologists and scientists who examined Kounopetra concluded that the constant movement is due to the “messy” of rocks at the bottom and base of the rock, but also in the air and sea that surround it . Kounopetra is located close to the coast, so that visitors can easily observe it, in the specially designed area with benches on the beach. An information sign of the homonymous cultural association Matzavinata – Vouniou guides the observers, who nowadays need all their senses to be awake in order to be able to observe the phenomenon.

The cave of Drogarati

The only cave in Greece where concerts are organized is the Drogaratis cave , in Kefalonia . The main room is very large, with dimensions of 65 × 45 meters and a height of about 20 meters and the acoustics of the space is unique. Geologically, it is classified as one of the most remarkable caves in Greece: Stalactites and stalagmites more than one hundred million years old compose the unique landscape, while the temperature does not exceed 18 degrees Celsius. The depth of the cave reaches 95 meters . Its entrance is in the villageHaliotata , in the area of ​​Sami and can be visited daily.


The unknown caves of Kefalonia

Agalaki Cave , located near the village of Poulata in the province of Sami is the largest and most famous cave of the island. It is part of a fairly large system of caves – estimated at seventeen in total – that are located very close to each other and most of them form underground lakes, with fresh or brackish water . The scientists who studied this phenomenon came to the conclusion that the waters of these caves communicate with each other for the most part, through narrow underground passages.

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