2008 Joint Meeting of The Geological Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies with the Gulf Coast Section of SEPM

Paper No. 9
Presentation Time: 3:30 PM

The Aliakmon Legacy Project, Greece: International Initiative to Document a Plate Tectonic "type" Locality

RASSIOS, Anne Ewing, Kozani Branch, Institute of Geology and Mineral Exploration, Lefkovrisi, Kozani, 50100, Greece, blather@gre.forthnet.gr

The concept of an ophiolitic sole was developed from the classic studies of the Vourinos Ophiolite by Jay Zimmerman and Eldridge Moores in the 1960's. Unfortunately, the key localities of this sole are exposed within the valley of the Aliakmon River and will soon be flooded by construction of a hydroelectric dam. Thus, a plate tectonic "type locality" is to be lost.

A small grant from the Public Power Corporation of Greece administered by the Institute of Geology and Mineral Exploration allowed documentation of the ophiolitic emplacement geology along the river: what better way to ensure the legacy of this locality than with the help of young geology students in this project? An international collaboration including students (undergraduates to post-docs) from seven countries and eleven universities (among them, Miami, Cambridge, Milan, Cologne and Athens universities) spent three summers (2006 - 2008) with an experienced professional field geologist (Rassios) producing new geologic maps, and cutting-edge structural and petrologic studies of the locality. River rafting was employed by the students as a tool to allow access to difficult sections. By the end of 2008, more than 20 senior dissertations and four masters' theses were produced, as well as several new academic papers by the collaborating investigators. One book, Rocks in the Wild, has been published to popularize field geology and serve as a geo-ambassador of the project. The "final report" will be a public-friendly volume including all scientific results from participants on a DVD. "Networking" was an independent invention of the students, who keep up through a "Facebook" site. The project's success has suggested the formalization of the international student program utilizing various "Legacy" sites of Greece as field areas.