Monday, January 17, 2011

The Turkish Riviera: A Geology Lesson

The Mediterranean Coastline
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Turkey is a geological mishmash created by a bunch of tectonic plates crashing into one another, and it’s all held together by pretty, yet quite crumbly looking, sedimentary rocks. But wait. That’s not the end of my exhaustive geology lesson. A lot of these rocks along the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts seem to have been spit out by volcanoes (I think). I checked. The word ‘volcano’ came up a lot. Of all the rocks that were listed—serpentinite, basalt, dolerite, chalk, sandstone and chert—chert seems to be the prettiest and the most plentiful along the coast.

But I could be wrong. Be honest: you don’t really care, do you? You came here for the pretty pictures. I have lots of rock pictures, so if you happen to be a geologist, I hope you’ll bring clarity to this subject.

In the Köprülü Canyon

The Turkish Riviera—a coastline roughly from Alanya (close to its easternmost point) to Çeşme (northwesternmost point)—can certainly compete with the most spectacular coastlines in the world. It’s also one of the most crowded tourist destinations. As you drive along the coast, you’ll notice, however, that large stretches are undeveloped. I think—but again I could use a geologist to help me think—this is due to the crumbliness of the rock. If anyone has any, um, chert at home, let me know how crumbly it is. Could you build a hotel on it? I’ve Googled that question, but it’s one of those questions that hasn’t been answered yet.
Alanya from the sea

Don’t miss the old city and harbor of Alanya. It’s worth the drive. One of the best ways to see and appreciate the beauty of Alanya is to take one of the sightseeing cruises. They don’t cost very much, and—at least on our boat—the guide tells stories.

The harbour of Alanya

The best way to experience the Turkish Riviera is by renting a car. If you don’t, you’ll be stuck in your all-inclusive hotel, stuffing your belly and drinking yourself into a coma. Rent that car and head to the Taurus Mountains. The road gets more and more dangerous the higher you go. No guardrails. Lots of 100-metre drops. Great fun.

Which ones are Man Stones?
The geology—yes that’s today’s theme—of the Köprülü Canyon National Park is striking. The ‘fairy chimneys’ are called ‘Man Stones’ and ‘Devil Stones’ by the locals. When we reached the top of the mountain, a light rain was falling, so I didn’t take so many pictures. I did, however, brave the weather to give you this adorable goat.

More about the Turkish Riviera (and less geology) next time, but for now . . .

Who's adorable
I must be off,


Christopher Allen is the author of the absurdist satire Conversations with S. Teri O'Type. His award-winning fiction and creative non-fiction have appeared in numerous places both online and in print. More HERE.