Excursion and field work in Greece – landslides, rock falls, fault scarps

Since ten days I am in Greece now with a dozen of students. We started with an excursion in the western Peloponessus area and had a look at the regional tectonics, sedimentology (mainly Neogene Flysch units and young beach rocks), the large limestone horsts of Gavrovo and Ionian units, Ancient Olympia and recent mass movements. Then we began with field work for BSc, MSc and PhD theses.Especially the mass movements are awesome. This area experienced continuous rain falls during the last weeks and several roads were blocked and one can observe fresh slides literally everywhere. The entire region is prone to mass movements because of the sandy Neogene material with embedded clay layers and an extensional tectonic regime, but I’ve never seen that much activity!

A fresh landslide covering a road near Greikas.

Ongoing rotational slides and erosion near Frixa.

A fresh rock fall near Gryllos.

It’s sometimes hard to reach the mapping areas because so many dirt roads are blocked. This is really a Mass Movement Disney Land! Now rain has started again and we have more problems accessing the study sites. We apply Georadar, Geoelectrics, DGPS, mapping, LiDAR and drillings to find out about the lithology and the sliding planes. Some drillings are planned for tsunamite hunting. Additionally, we map active faults and analyze beautiful fault scarps like this one:

A nice (but rather old) fault scarp. Not postglacial in my opinion.

We have five more days and hope for better weather, because with sun this fantastic landscape is just breathtaking.

A beautiful panorama from Lapithas mountain.

Until now we had some great results and it’s just so much fun with the students in the field. Thanks a lot to Klaus, Tom, Andre, Jack and Tomás and all our students from RWTH Aachen University!

γεια σου,


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Christoph Grützner

Christoph Grützner

works at the Institute of Geological Sciences, Jena University. He likes Central Asia and the Mediterranean and looks for ancient earthquakes.

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1 Comment

  • Ioannis Papanikolaou | 2012-03-12|22:50 (UTC)

    Good stuff Christoph, but Bloody weather!

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