Cyprus Storms Live Learning Center
Earth Sciences

This page is intended as a starting point for studies of the Earth Sciences and will contain links to other sites where more detailed information is available
In addition to the resources below educators and teachers are welcome to use the other pages on this website as teaching aids.

Earth science or geoscience includes all fields of natural science related to the planet Earth. It is the branch of science dealing with the physical constitution of the Earth and its atmosphere. Earth science is the study of our planet's physical characteristics, from earthquakes to raindrops, and floods to fossils. Earth science can be considered to be a branch of planetary science, but with a much older history. Earth science encompasses four main branches of study, the lithosphere, the hydrosphere, the atmosphere, and the biosphere, each of which is further broken down into more specialized fields.The four basic disciplines of the Earth Sciences are….

Geology

Oceanography

Meteorology

Enviromental Science

GEOLOGY IN CYPRUS

The Cyprus Geological Survey Department is the technical adviser of the state for all geo-matters. It is the responsible government service for the undertaking of research and studies, as well as the granting of advice on geological, hydrogeological, geotechnical, ore body evaluation, geophysical, seismological and geo-environmental matters.

The Troodos Massif is a marvel of Cyprus geology.In geologists' eyes, it is the most complete and studied ophiolite in the world.

Cyprus was formed as a result of a series of unique events which has made the island a geological show case. About 90 million years ago Cyprus was part of the bottom of a deep ocean, called Tethys.

Tectonic movements at that time resulted in the collision of the African with the Eurasian plate, ultimately giving birth to the island.

The Troodos Massif itself first rose above the ocean around 20 million years ago along with its smaller sister in the north of the island, the Pentadactylos range. Today's high point, Mount Olympus, otherwise known as Chionistra at 1952m or 6400 ft, is actually a slice of a 90 million year old crust of the ocean consisting of plutonic, intrusive and volcanic rocks and chemical sediments.

The complex geological processes which took place to form the island can be clearly seen in the rock formations in the Troodos massif area. Students of Cyprus geology can visit almost any area in the Troodos to marvel at the tectonic layers of rock. Being volcanic in origin, the Troodos Mountain Range is made up of  serpentine-rock, diabase, Gabbro and pillow lava.

It is also rich in mineral deposits including asbestos, chromite, iron and copper which probably gave the island its name and certainly made it an attraction for invading powers over the centuries. And you don't need to be an expert in Cyprus geography to marvel at the incredible rock Formations in the Troodos area. Just go for a walk or a mountain bike ride on one of the many nature trails like the Atalante trail to see the amazing variety of rock strata.

On the left is a picture of part of the Geology wall at Trachypedoula
Village which is well worth a visit especially a school outing.


Other areas to visit are the cliffs near Pissouri and the Troodos area where there is evidence of the Messinian Salinity Crisis. This is when the Straits of Gibraltar closed up and the whole Mediterranean dried up. In these areas you can see walls of gypsum and other salts (formed by the evaporation of sea water) hundreds of meters high. At 4.8 Ma, the Atlantic flooded back in, and you have open marine conditions again.


See the Wikipedia article for this event

Laminated gypsum, which formed on the sea floor as a result of evaporation. Evaporation of one metre of seawater precipitates around  1 mm of gypsum. >>


Another place to visit is The Troodos Geopark Visitor Centre is located in the old Asbestos mine (Amiantos mine), an area with enormous historical value which now hosts an extraordinary botanical garden with information about the flora of the area, a seed bank of endemic species and also a plethora of evidence for the past mining activity and the community which once flourished there. The Geopark Visitor Centre is situated in the newly restored elementary school of the abandoned asbestos mine. The building is an impressive listed structure  and an example of fine architecture with historic characteristics and features such as its fireplaces, one in every room, and a beautiful  internal yard.

The above are just a few examples of the many areas of Geological interest in Cyprus worthy of visiting especially for school field trips. For more information also see the Seismic page on this website

OCEANOGRAPHY IN CYPRUS

The Cyprus Oceanography Centre is located in Nicosia at the University of Cyprus and is the Cyprus institution for ocean research and one of the operational marine core and downstream forecasting and monitoring ...

There are many undersea features off the coast of Cyprus. Foremost among these is the Eratosthenes Seamount or Eratosthenes Tablemount is a seamount in the Eastern Mediterranean about 100 km south of western Cyprus. It is a large, submerged massif, about 120 km long and 80 km wide. Its peak lies at the depth of 690 m and it rises 2000 m above the surrounding seafloor, which is located at the depth of up to 2,700 m and is a part of the Eratosthenes Abyssal Plain. It is one of the largest features on the Eastern Mediterranean seafloor.

In 2010 and 2012 the Ocean Exploration Trust's vessel EV Nautilus explored the seamount looking for shipwrecks. Three were found; two were Ottoman vessels from the 19th century and the third was from the 4th century BC. Such seamounts are considered to be ideal for the preservation of shipwrecks because at depths of around 600 metres the areas are not disturbed by trawlers or by sediments coming off land.

For more information on this topic see the Tsunami page on this website

METEOROLOGY IN CYPRUS

The Cyprus Department of Meteorology is a Government Department under the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment, having all the normal responsibilities of a national Department of Meteorology

Meteorology is at the core of the Cyprus Storms Live website and much live and near-realtime information can be found on the main page. The weather is a multi faceted subject and different people specialise in different areas many of which are covered on the other pages of the Cyprus Storms Live site.

See the Wikipedia article for the Cyprus Climate

Cyprus receives an average of 2,700 to 3,500 hours per year. In winter, Cyprus receives an average of 5-6 hours of sunlight per day, half of the 12-13 hours experienced at the height of summer. This is about double that of cities in the northern half of Europe; for comparison, London has 1,461 hours. However, in winter there can be more than four times more sunshine; for comparison London has 37 hours while coastal locations in Cyprus have around 180 hours of sunshine in December (that is, as much as in May in London).

The above statistics speak for themselves but we should not forget that Cyprus also has a winter, we can have snow in the Mountains even down to relatively low altitudes making the Island one of the few places in the world where you can go skiing in the morning and then sun yourself on a beach in the afternoon. We can also suffer among other things from severe thunderstorms including water spouts and tornadoes, dust storms and drought. (See the photo and video pages on this website)

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

Probably the biggest discussion to be had in this category is Global Warming / Climate Change. There are many diverse opinions on this subject from very Eminent Scientists all over the world a lot of whom cannot agree. My advice is to ask yourself the following questions, then research the answer to each before forming your own opinion of the subject matter…

1..  Does Global Warming / Climate change even exist ? … if so..
2..  Is it an natural cycle ?
3..  Is it a natural cycle but amplified by the activities of mankind ?
4..  Is it solely down to the activities of Mankind ?

The subject of Climate Change certainly raises passions on both sides of the argument. With demonstrations taking place all over the world from those convinced that mankind is the cause and we have to do something about it 'before it is too late', and those who do not believe this is so or choose to ignore the subject altogether, The purpose of this page is not to try and persuade you either way but to encourage you to do your own research and make up your own minds.

Do an internet search for 'climate change' and 'global warming' and read as much as you can on opinions for both sides of the argument. After doing your own research have a class/group discussion to discuss your findings. A good starting point is to read the Wikipedia article on Environmental Science

One thing is certain, irrespective of the rights or wrongs of the argument there is no doubt that as 'good practice' we should be preserving the Earth's precious natural resources and using as much renewable energy as possible.

ONLINE RESOURCES

This section contains resources for students and educators relating to the Earth Sciences.

Geography4kids.com (site map)

The Globe Project

European Geosciences Union

Site Map for the Geography4kids.com website which contains a wealth of information on various aspects of the Earth Sciences specifically aimed at children.

This educational site allows the educator to select the grade level equivalent to the level of the
students in the class. Again it centres around
The Earth Sciences in particulare Earths biosphere

Educational resources for educators and students from the European Geosciences Union There is a wealth of resources on this site with
a European focus.

FREE ONLINE COURSES

Physics

Biology

Science

Environmental Science

There are a variety of free courses available on this site. (Use the search facality on the left). I have selected a few above to get you started. You will have to register (free) but at the end of the course you may have to pay for your Certificate / Diploma.


Disclaimer - Cyprus Storms Live does not endorse the site linked to above over any other similar site. If you cannot find a course to suit your
requirements there then do an internet search for 'free courses'

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NOTES FOR TEACHERS