Greece’s Twin Lakes of Zerelia made by a meteorite crash

Greece's Twin Lakes of Zerelia made by a meteorite crash.
Photo: Wondermondo
A rare example of a body of water that was created by the catastrophic impact of a meteorite is the twin lakes in Central Greece together referred to as Zerelia.

A rare example of a body of water that was created by the catastrophic impact of a meteorite is the twin lakes in Central Greece together referred to as Zerelia.

The two lakes are only 250 meters apart were created by the tremendous impact of the space rock that catapulted through the Earth’s atmosphere. They are located just a few kilometers outside the city of Volos and four kilometers (2.5 miles) from the town of Almyros.

Scientists estimate that a meteorite struck Earth about 10,000 years ago, split in two, and left two twin craters that filled with water. These lakes are still present today.

A small hill a few meters from the lakes contains a prehistoric settlement that was inhabited until the Bronze Age. The twin lakes have established significant wetlands habitats for many species of birds, including white storks, green-headed ducks, coots, egrets, and others, in addition to their archaeological relevance and meteorological origin.

The largest lake measures 250 meters in diameter and is about eight meters deep, while the smallest lake measures 150 meters in diameter and is about six meters deep. The bottom has the shape of a plate.

The lakes were first thought to have a karstic doline, or volcanic origin. However, in December 2010, researchers Dietrich Volker J. and Evangelos Lagios discovered partially molten zirconium in the bottom of the lakes, which requires temperatures greater than 1,400–1,800 degrees Celsius to melt.

Because such high temperatures are not found in volcano magmatization processes or in metamorphic phenomena that occur in the Earth’s crust, the researchers proposed a meteorite impact as the cause of the nearly perfectly round lakes.

Lagios and Volker estimate that this collision occurred between 12,500 and 8,000 years ago, during the Holocene epoch. The meteorite’s probable size is estimated to be between 10 and 30 meters, and this phenomena is unique to Greece.

The archeological team led by Professor of Eurasian Archaeology H. Reinder Reinders from the Netherlands Institute in Athens investigated the nearby hill. Ceramic pieces from the Bronze Age were discovered in the soil during a surface excavation. A temple honoring Athena Itonia, according to archaeologist Dimitris Theocharis, is buried at the bottom of one of the two lakes and only becomes visible when the water level drops. (The Reinders excavation team contests this theory, though.)

The University of Thessaly’s Department of History, Archeology, and Social Anthropology and the 13th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities began conducting systematic study in 2005.

A home from the early Bronze Age may have existed, according to indications of pilings and clay flooring discovered during the first year of this inquiry.

It was later discovered that a significant portion of the hill’s volume was created during the Bronze Age’s vigorous residential activity, which included constant maintenance and construction of homes made of clay and wooden pegs.

In addition, archaeologists found a hole filled with artifacts from various eras, the most recent of which was a Phocaean silver coin from the beginning of the 5th century BC.

According to the report of the Greek Reporter, the majority of the artifacts discovered in Zerelia include flint tools, clay flywheels, pottery fragments, and arrowheads. The settlement’s overall appearance reveals a well-run rural community that made the most use of its natural resources.

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