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Cyprus

 
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Cyprus

Terrain

The rugged Troodos Mountains, whose principal range stretches from Pomos Point in the northwest almost to Larnaca Bay on the east, are the single most conspicuous feature of the landscape. Intensive uplifting and folding in the formative period left the area highly fragmented, so that subordinate ranges and spurs veer off at many angles, their slopes incised by steep-sided valleys. In the southwest, the mountains descend in a series of stepped foothills to the coastal plain.

While the Troodos Mountains are a massif formed of molten igneous rock, the Kyrenia Range is a narrow limestone ridge that rises suddenly from the plains. Its easternmost extension becomes a series of foothills on the Karpas Peninsula. That peninsula points toward Asia Minor, to which Cyprus belongs geologically.

Even the highest peaks of the Kyrenia Range are hardly more than half the height of the great dome of the Troodos massif, Mount Olympus (1,952 meters), but their seemingly inaccessible, jagged slopes make them considerably more spectacular. British writer Lawrence Durrell, in Bitter Lemons, wrote of the Troodos as "an unlovely jumble of crags and heavyweight rocks" and of the Kyrenia Range as belonging to "the world of Gothic Europe, its lofty crags studded with crusader castles."

Rich copper deposits were discovered in antiquity on the slopes of the Troodos. Geologists speculate that these deposits may have originally formed under the Mediterranean Sea, as a consequence of the upwelling of hot, mineral-laded water through a zone where plates that formed the ocean floor were pulling apart.

Data as of January 1991

Cyprus - TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • The Society and Its Environment

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