Sitting in an office after sunset and browsing any kind of Earth Explorer makes a lot of people think about lovely places far away. We geoscientists are in a quite comfortable stuation with field trips and meetings all over the world. But maybe sometimes there are thoughts about places you haven’t been to. I would like to introduce this section as a suggestion for your next holiday or even field trip with bits and pieces of culture, scenery and geology.
Together with my colleagues I now have been several times to Lake Ohrid Basin, where Nadine is working on neotectonic evolution and morphotectonics. It’s right at the border between Albania and FYR of Macedonia. I once wrote a thesis about shallow subsurface sedimentary structures on the northern shore but that’s another story. I would like to fill you with enthousiasm to visit this UNESCO world heritage region.
There are quite a lot of interesting features not only from an geologic, but also from a limnological, zoological, paleoclimatological and, after all, sceneric and touristic point of view. Scroll down to the bottom and find a few selected papers about “Ancient Lake Ohrid”!
Speaking of which, Lake Ohrid is ancient, that means this lake has lasted over geologic times. Here, we are talking about at least 2-5 million years, possibly even 8 million years. Subduction zone roll-back determined the South Balkan Extension Regime, which created several N-S to NNW-SSE trending basins. A truly seismogenic landscape with numerous fault scarps and steep mountain ranges expose carbonates and metamorphic rocks next to smooth plains with fluvial and lacustrine sedimentary successions.
Plus, Lake Ohrid hosts over 200 endemic species like the salmo letnica, the Ohrid trout, which is believed to taste very delicious, but neither I nor you might try and taste it: our macedonian colleagues work hard on the protection of the species conservation.
A good time to visit Lake Ohrid is spring, when a lot of trees are in blossom and temperatures rise to a enjoyable level, like May or even June for example. You could visit not only the city of Ohrid with a magnificent old town and beautiful shorelines with some bars but also the monastery of Sveti Naum, where the Cyrillic writing system has been developed. And don’t forget to go to the Albanian side, Pogradec is worth a visit!
Well, this post is intended to show you the way up the Galicica mountains, especially the highest peak Magaro at 2254 m amsl. On a sunny day you have great views over the Ohrid Basin, the mountain ranges and the neighboring Prespa lake. Although suitable to ambitioned beginners, the way to the top may be windy and perhaps snowy and you might have to find your own path.
When you have found the road towards the mountains you reach a rather small parking area on your right after some kilometres on the shoulder of Magaro. Lock your car and start walking uphill following the path towards the forest. Stay left and just follow the lead until all trees lie behind you. From now on it’s easy, because the task is: upslope! As we’ve been here, the area was really snowy so we just crossed the snowfields where we were wind-protected and kept facing the top. It is handy to carry a GPS device, so you don’t lose track. Wonder what the big metal plate could be and go on hiking. Once you reached the top, you could think about using a different way back. You should see where your car is parked, so walk towards it…
I provided a Google Earth-file where you can find the locations for driving, parking, and walking. For the biggest part of the track, you follow the way we went. Try the alternative route on your way back, there might be more beautiful views facing Albania!
So what do you think? Travel to Lake Ohrid?
Albrecht, C. & Wilke, T. (2008): Ancient Lake Ohrid: biodiversity and evolution. Hydrobiologica 615, 1, 103-140. (link)
Burchfiel, B. et al. (2006): GPS results for Macedonia and its importance for the tectonics of the Southern Balkan Extensional Regime, Tectonophysics 413, 239-248. (link)
Dumurdzanov, N. et al. (2005): Cenozoic tectonics of Macedonia and its relation to the South Balkan Extensional Regime, Geosphere 1, 1-22. (link)
Hoffmann, N., et al. (2010): Evolution of ancient Lake Ohrid: a tectonic perspective. Biogeosciences 7, 3377-3386. (link)
Reicherter, K. et al. (2011). Active basins and neotectonics: morphotectonics of the Lake Ohrid Basin (FYROM and Albania). ZDGG 162 (2), 217 -234. (link)
Wagner, B. et al. (2008): The potential of Lake Ohrid for long-term palaeoenvironmental reconstructions, P3 259, 341-356. (link)