Greece Rivers and Mountains Part II

Greece Rivers and Mountains 2

Another offshoot still sends the Pindus eastward, towards the sea: the one that near its detachment from the great chain culminates in Mount Eta (2158 m.), And then slopes down to the Gulf of Lamía, where it leaves a narrow beach (the Thermopylae Pass) between itself and the sea. Mount Óthrys and this southernmost offshoot clearly limit the Spercheo plain, which opens into the Gulf of Lamía. But from this that continuous offshoot, still attenuated and made more irregular, like a coastal chain along the Atalántē Channel to the Strait of Chalcis and then beyond. And, on the other hand, from the same Eta massif other high mountains connect towards the south, in which the Pindus finds its southernmost continuation: the Nkiq̂na (2512 m.) And then, skirting the Gulf of Corinth, the Parnassus (2459 m.), The Elicona (1749 m.), The Citerone (1411 m.), Mountains sacred to the gods of ancient Greece. From the last of them a series of reliefs, culminating in the Parnete (1412 m.), Runs east to the strait that is between the Euripo Channel and the Gulf of Petalioí. Within this circle of mountains is another of the typical regional units of Greece, although divided into several basins: those of Boeotia. The southernmost is a basin open to the sea, where the Asopo flows out after wandering through the arid plain of Thebes. A mediocre spur that descends from the Helicon limits it towards the northernmost ones, all karst, that is, without a superficial outlet towards the sea. Among the minors, two are important, because one encloses the lake of Líkeri, and the lake Paralímnē the other; but the largest is the very extended longitudinal one,

The short series of reliefs between Citerone and Parnete limits Attica to the north. At Parnete, by means of a not very high threshold, the short massif of Pentelico (1109 m.) Rich in marble is reconnected; and to this, still more towards south, the Imetto (1027 m.); and from both of them there are short and irregular offshoots, all predominantly calcareous, which limit little extended plains open towards the sea, such as those of Marathon, Eleusis, Athens. Attica therefore has a small elevation of the relief, and therefore, when the climatic conditions that are dominant are also recalled, an almost absolute nudity and an almost absolute lack of perennial streams: the only one, indeed, is the Cefiso, also poor however, from which the Athenian plain, scarce of floods and strewn with rocky spikes,

In western Greece, the large water catchment area of ​​the Aspropotamus, which with the spring areas of its tributaries almost embraces the entire Pindus chain, constitutes a geographical region that has profoundly different characteristics from those of the other regional units of the whole of Greece. Here, from the main chain, powerful parallel buttresses branch off in the meridian direction, in which the crest line approaches and very often exceeds 2000 meters in height; long-lasting snow cover in the higher areas, then woods and pastures on the sides, abundant waters in the valley bottoms. But on the other hand, at the foot of the mountainous region of Pindus, between it and the Ionian Sea, it is like a band of limestone reliefs: the coastal mountains of Acarnania and Aetolia, all typically karst, that is, naked and devoid of running waters. But the two clearly contrasting areas are clearly separated also topographically from each other, even if contiguous: between one and the other, in fact, there is a series of basins, typical Greek basins, in the easternmost of the which extends the great Agrinion Lake, and the following, beyond a depressed and marshy area, is typically karst, that is, without an external outlet, and gathers its waters especially in the long and sinuous lake of Ríbion, while the westernmost is represented by the large Gulf of Arta with extensive floodplains. And also towards the west, beyond the Arta river which limits it on this side, the Pindus region comes into contact with another typical karst region, Epirus; and the relief is often shaped here in bare limestone plateaus,

In the Peloponnese the Pindus continues, first, in the high mountains of Achaia (Erimanto, 2224 m.; Chelmós, 2355 m.), From which the line of the highest heights extends further east in the Cillene group (2374 m.) ; then in the mountains of Arcadia; here too the often very persistent mantle of snow, and the woods and pastures of the high slopes, and the rivers rich in water, main the Peneus and the Alfeo, and directed to the Ionian Sea. But while from this side to the central mountainous region follows one of mediocre highland reliefs, and then terraces of ancient floods, up to the beaches and lagoons of the falcata coast, on the other hand all of eastern Arcadia constitutes a large and several times multiple karst basin, with numerous lakes and waters lost in sinkholes and sinks.

The characteristic division of Greece into many regional units continues even outside the mainland. Except that, here, the bottom of the basins is now submerged under the sea, while more or less extensive strips of the primitive mountain circles emerge only in the innumerable islands. In these, therefore, even when they are very extensive, it is difficult to find flat areas: only in Crete there is an example. But all of them retain the characteristics of those original mountain circles, of which now they are only detached and residual fragments. Hence the strong elevation they have attained is especially remarkable with regard to their extent. Even outside Crete, which reaches 2498 meters in Mount Ida, and Euboea with its peak at 1745 meters, and Kefalonia at 1620 meters, all the others reach heights that in general can be said to oscillate between 300 and 1000 m., that is, always quite large in relation to their size. Hence, always rocky coasts, often steep, and a generally conical profile, which in some, however, appears attenuated as a swollen hump.

The constitution of the land is perhaps more varied in the islands than in the mainland: some calcareous, others predominantly or solely of crystalline and schistose rocks; the former lack running waters and abound in karst forms and phenomena, the absorbent chasms of Argostoli on the island of Kefalonia are famous; while the latter have frequent springs, which give rise to small perennial streams.

Greece Rivers and Mountains 2