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Earthquakes in caves on Kalymnos and Pserimos (Greece)

September 2011: Bernhard Grasemann and Lukas Plan (Museum of Natural History Vienna) supported by the speleologist Wendy Reusens visited several caves on the islands of Kalymnos and Pserimos.

Besides new cave surveying and mapping, the research was focused on evidences for active tectonic deformation or earthquakes in speleothems (e.g. broken stalagmites, stalactites or flowstones). The karst caves formed in calcite and dolomite marbles along the damage zone of inclined brittle faults. The discovered outcrops of speleothem seismites exceeded all expectations: All visited caves hosted abundant evidences of tectonic broken speleothems and fallen stalagmites. Relative neotectonic movements like systematic offsets of stalactites against stalagmites in the observed caves will help to quantify large earthquakes in this region.

Department for Geodynamics and Sedimentology
University of Vienna

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