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Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea - on top of a Mountain: The Cyprus Ophiolite

Illustrated talk by Dr Paul Williams

Friday 24 February, 7-8pm.

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle NE2 4PT.

The Cyprus Ophiolite represents a section of Oceanic Lithosphere generated at abyssal depth on the Late Cretaceous Tethyan Ocean floor, but is now preserved on land at an altitude of around 2000m in the Troodos Mountains, Cyprus. This talk looks at the geology of the ophiolite set amidst amazing scenery, and which unlike many of the world’s major ophiolites has not suffered from any major tectonic dislocation, presenting an almost in-tact section through the oceanic crust. Its origins and formation will be discussed and the history of research outlined, following the development from early ideas about a layered igneous body up to the recognition of the igneous complex as a section of oceanic lithosphere, results which have modified our thinking on many of the world’s ophiolite bodies. The Cyprus Ophiolite has thus ground-breaking significance in the development of our understanding of many of the Earth’s plate-tectonic processes.

Dr Paul Williams is retired from the Department of Earth and Environmental Science at The Open University.