WHY CHOOSE THE GULF OF CORINTH FOR A FIELD TRIP

There are three main reasons: 

        1.To take the opportunity experiencing some XTREME GEOLOGICAL HAZARDS such as:

  •  to feel the ground shake under your feet
  •  to feel the strain of an active fault on your body
  • be toppled by a tsunami – hopefully a small one

  

2. To visit a natural under and above water laboratory where you can find out the role that sedimentary deposits laid down close to major basin-bounding faults could play in deciphering the space and time evolution of a fault and the history of sea level changes. Furthermore, the Gulf of Corinth is considered a modern field analogue for obtaining structural and sedimentological architectural information, which can be used in reservoir modeling processes in ancient oil-bearing extensional basins. 

3. To visit some ancient and modern examples of very fine engineering. 

  • Diolkos: A paved slip ramp 5.5km long, constructed by the Corinthians in the 6th century BC, across the “Isthmus” (the land separating the Aegean and Ionian Seas) for hauling ships from the one sea to the other (Fig. 1a,b)
  •  Lechaeon Harbour: It was the western port of Corinth, mainly used for travelling and shipping goods to the western Mediterranean. The construction phases of the harbour related to the expansive economic activity of Corinth in the 6th century BC and to the Roman occupation in the 3rd century AD. The harbour contained an outer and inner port with a combined area of about 150.000m3. The inner part was constructed by excavating a lagoon and trenching an entrance through a coastal sand spit. (Fig. 2)
  •  Kenchreae Harbour: This was the eastern harbour of Corinth. (Fig. 3&4), used mainly for travelling and shipping goods to the eastern Mediterranean. The harbour flourished during Hellinistic and Roman times. At this harbour the Apostole Paul delivered in 53AD, to Phoebe, a deaconess in Corinth his famous epistle to the Romans and then sailed to Ephesus.
  • Isthmus Canal: A canal 7km long and 85m in height which cuts across “Isthmus” the land separating the Ionian and Aegean Seas. (Fig.5) The canal was constructed by Lepsius, the same engineer who also constructed the Suez Canal, at the end of the 19th century. The canal is the longest man-made geological section in a Quaternary tectonically active environment on a global scale.

 

 

Fig.1 (a): Plan view of the Diolkos: a paved ramp across the Isthmus, the land separating the Aegean from the Ionian Sea, for hauling ships from the one sea to the other.

Fig.1 (b): Remains of the Diolkos. The ramp has a width of between 3.5 and 5m whilst shallow parallel grooves 1.5m apart were cut in the ground for guiding the wheels of the cart on which the ship was loaded for transportation (from N.Papahatzis 1977)

Fig.2: Lechaeon harbour in plan view (A):inner port, (B) outer port, (C)&(D) entrance channels to the inner port.

Fig.3: The Kenchreae harbour in plan view and the submerged western (1) and eastern (2) moles.

Fig. 4:Kenchreae harbour(i)the northern mole and (ii) the northern escarpment of the Onia mounting delineating the Kenchreae fault. (N. Paphatzis 1977)

Fig.5: The Corinth canal connecting the Corinth Gulf in the Ionian Sea with the Saronikos Gulf in the Aegean Sea. The longest and deepest man-made geological section.

 

 

References:

Papahatzis N., 1977. Ancient Corinth; The museum of Corinth, Isthmia and Sicyon. Ekdotike Athenon.

Theodoulou T., 2002. Lecheao the western port of Corinth (in Greek). Enalia VI: 83-98

 

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