Morphology - Geology

Morphology - Geology

Mount Olympus does not belong to any of the Greek ranges but comprises an independed circular massif covering an area of approximately 500 km2. Its highest summit ''Mytikas or Pantheon'' is spaced 18km from the coastline, giving the impression that the mountain rises from the sea.

Mount Olympus morphology is generally characterized by steep slopes sharp ridges separated by deep canyons as result of past and present climatic oscillations and subsequent erosional processes. The morphology of the upper mountain (above 2000m) has been greatly affected by climatic, glacial, periglacial and geophysical processes (rain, hail, snow, wind, frost, solifluktion, variations of the tree line elevations etc), while in the lower parts of the mountain human impacts (logging, cattle and goat grazing) become more important. More specific, based on Mount Olympus present morphology the mountain can be divided in two main parts; the north and the south part. The division line mainly of tectonic origin follows an EW line along the old glacial valleys of Megala Kazania to the west and Maurologgos Ennipeas to the east. The north part of the mountain is characterized by steeper slopes, well developed hydrographic network, and deeper canyons. On the contrary, the southern part of the mountain is characterized by much smoother relief and less developed hydrographic network, probably a result of differential uplift and different geological substratum. 
From a geologic standpoint Mount Olympus' origin has not been well defined yet. According to many geologists Mount Olympus comprises a tectonic window of the Gavrovo Tripoli geotectonic belt, thrusted under the Pelagonian sheet, its lithology comprising a continuous (Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous) calcareous sequence. Others believe that Mount Olympus is part of the Pelagonian Belt, considering it an autochthonous sequence but not continuous in the time sedimentation sense (Jurassic limestones are missing). Whatever the case might be Mount Olympus is composed by Triassic, maybe Jurassic and Cretaceous limestones, while on the south west part of the mountain there exist granite outcrops and flysch. The upper mountain is dominated by the deposition of glacial and periglacial deposits, while in the lowlands thick sequences of conglomerates and alluvial deposits exist. (More information can be obtained in ''Research on the Mountain of the Gods'' unit). 



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