Why Tethys?

Tethys was a Titan of ancient Greek mythology, the mother of all the waters of the world.

The Tethyan Ocean once covered much of the Earth, its waters flowing from what are now the shores of Britain to distant China. This was the ocean that dominated the Age of Dinosaurs, the Mesozoic Era. The ocean was born with the rifting of the Pangaean mega-continent, creating the continents of Europe and Africa, and was destroyed when these two continents later collided.

Within the Grevena and Voios region in Greece, the Tethyan Ocean system and the tectonics of its creation and closure are the defining geologic features of a globally unique area that includes remnants of this ancient oceanic plate: the oldest rocks of Greece are found here; the Birth of Tethys and of Europe itself is recorded within the rocky exposures of Mount Vounassa; the world’s original description of an ophiolite as analogue to an oceanic spreading system comprises the geologic heritage site of the Vourinos Ophiolite, which preserves a complete Tethyan lithospheric section; Mount Orliakas, itself formed as a reef within the remnant waters of the Cretaceous Tethys, is astride the ancient African-European suture zone. Plate motions related to the history of the Tethyan seas fashioned today’s landscape that includes sites of great natural beauty. More recent glaciations further sculpted these geomorphic wonders to today’s natural attractions, the Geowonders. These areas provide a provenance to some of the world’s most important proboscidean fossils, the Lands of the Elephants.

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