Impact craters near my home?

I was flying from Athens to Ioannina the other day, and the route was near the city of Arta too. Just north of Arta, on one the mountain tops near the city, I saw what they resemble asteroid/meteorite impact craters. There’s a big crater, and a few smaller ones around it (obviously thousands or millions of years old). Since Ioannina is a relatively small city, I was lucky to be flown by a small propeller plane, at low altitude (9-10 minutes before touch-down), so I could have a good look.

Of course I’m not a geologist, and what I saw could it be the outcome of an earthquake, but to my eyes they really looked like impact craters: a big crater that carried the bigger piece of the asteroid body, and some smaller ones that were cut-off from the main body as they entered the atmosphere. Overall, these seems to be scattered in an area of about 2-3 kilometers.

I got excited about it, and I thought I should not take any pictures, since I could be able to take a look later on Google Maps. Boy, did I make one of my biggest mistakes in my life? The Google Maps picture quality of the area is dreadful and the craters just don’t look like craters at all. And Google’s images look skewed too. Impossible to figure out what’s what from these images.

On the other hand, what I’m reporting here might be common knowledge to the geologists of Greece, but I certainly never heard anything about it about the area, which is close to my home.

Update: Good news everyone! I found the craters on Google Earth, and in it they look as they did from the plane. Image below (click for larger view), equivalent Google maps link, but prefer to check it out on Earth instead. The location is near the villages Gorgomylos and Gkoura.

In the picture you can see the main crater (if it’s a crater after all), and 7-8 more smaller ones (the all-grey ones). The other mountains in the region don’t look like that btw, which is what makes me believe that this is worth investigating further…

Update 2: If you have any geologist friend, please send him/her to this page. I don’t know of any, and I would like to know their opinion on the matter.

6 Comments »

memsom wrote on July 22nd, 2011 at 5:58 AM PST:

Could also be glacial… as in from the ice age. Ice Glaciers do odd things and erode rock in very strange ways.


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Eugenia wrote on July 22nd, 2011 at 2:29 PM PST:

Good idea, thanks. I searched online about the place btw, didn’t find anything. I emailed my local geological institute too, hopefully I will hear from them next week.


Ivan wrote on July 22nd, 2011 at 10:54 PM PST:

I was thinking of landslides too. A bit weird they are collocated like this, though.


Ralfoide wrote on July 23rd, 2011 at 2:18 AM PST:

Is this a volcanic region? Volcanos top are crater like.

Could we have a kml file for Earth? Maps satellite view lacks relief.


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Eugenia wrote on July 23rd, 2011 at 3:04 AM PST:

AFAIK, there are no volcanos in the region. This spot shown in the pic is the only one that looks like this too. Here’s the .kmz Google Earth file btw, zipped.


Mirko wrote on July 24th, 2011 at 11:26 AM PST:

simply erosion generated by water and ice. they look quite dramatic because of the high pressure rocks have been raised creating high slopes

you can see it everywhere in North Greece

they are quite dangerous to go near cause you can easily ignite a slide of rocks

the only weird stuff I notice is the ability of greeks to make walking paths in the middle of them…just because goats open the road

I surely have pictures and videos of such formations in Epirus


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