« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
wackés, they are in a schistose state, are veined with quartz, and of a greenish-grey colour. 5. The coarse 5. The upper tertialy formation is found in the Karpas district ...; in several places; at Bogasi, it is a white limestone containing mari. ostrea edulina; at Hai Theodoro it is a coarse marly limestone; near Hai Simeon it is a coarse limestone containing large specimens of the pectunculus; near Calebournou it forms a high hill of sand and soft limestone containing several fossils; it also appears at Ghilanemo, Rhizo Carpasso and Yaloussa. The formation is also found in the Cerinea mountains at Clepini, Lapethus, Vasilia, and other places; it here much resembles the miocene marls. It covers with yellow sand the southern edge of the Messaria plain from Visatchia to Athienou, where the hills have a base of white miocene marl, but their upper part is an upper tertiary formation of fine fossiliferous sand. The formation again appears at Cape Pyla, and at Mavrospilios in the south-eastern part of the island; here the rock is chiefly a coarse marly limestone, containing numerous fossils, such as pecten, pectunculus, tellina, ostrea, spatangus, echinolampas, &c. Along the southern coast of the island are bands of conglomerates, sands, and coarse limestones, lying on miocene beds, but it is difficult to determine whether they are of the pliocene or the quaternary period. 6. Sands and 6. A cordon of rocks of quaternary formation borders the coast of : Cyprus almost throughout, and its continuity renders the study of - it comparatively easy. The components of this cordon are coarse yellowish limestones, grey or yellow sands full of foraminifera, and conglomerates which are sometimes hard, sometimes friable. At Cape St. Andrea the marine conglomerates appear to be of quite recent formation. The whole of the north coast from Cape St. Andrea to Cape Kormakiti is composed of coarse limestones, slightly glauconitic, and of the same character as those of Hagia Napa on the south coast. Generally the beds are horizontal, but near Yaloussa, they incline slightly to the south. The following fossils are amongst those found on the north coast:-rissoa, trochus, cypraea, conus, columbella, cerithium, lucina, pectunculus, arca, and ostrea. The shore of the west side of the island is formed of coarse limestones alternating with sandy conglomerates containing aphamite. These rocks simply border the sea, and do not extend any distance inland; they lie horizontally on masses of apanite and ophite. The southern coast of the same character; its rocks are of the pliocene and quaternary periods. The peculiar character of the conglomerate hills inland has been noticed by Drs. Unger and Kotschy and many other writers. They occur notably along the road between Larnaca and Nicosia, as it enters the plain of Messaria, in numerous conical and tableshaped heights, with intervals between them which are evidently the result of erosion. The conglomerate is chiefly composed of diorite pebbles, and generally appears in two beds separated by a layer of sand; it rests upon the tertiary marl and must once have been a continuous layer.
Accepting for the present Gaudry's assertion that the compact limestones are of the secondary, or cretaceous, epoch, and putting aside the doubt as to whether the pseudo-plutonic rocks may possibly be older formations which have undergone a process of metamorphism, then, although the absence of fossils in this limestone prevents its exact age from being known with certainty, we may consider it to be the oldest formation in the island; and from its fine grain and homogeneous texture and colour, extending over a large area, where not modified by the contact of eruptive rocks, we may further assume that it was deposited beneath a very deep and tranquil sea. The sandstones which overlie this formation were also formed beneath the sea, but under different conditions and in shallow water; for their remarkable tabular appearance, and their very changeable texture, being in some places very hard and in others quite friable, seem to indicate the existence of strong under-currents, as well as subsequent pressure, and variable cementation. That the marls which succeed were formed in deep sea appears evident from their fine texture and the rarity of fossils; probably no violent commotion or sudden change of circumstances separated this formation from that below it. The miocene age (according to Gaudry) closed with an upheaval of the island from the bottom of the sea, and the two great systems of mountains existing at present, then first appeared above the water, the northern chain which is less lofty than the other, being perhaps at this period separated into several small islands. Whether this upheaval arose from vertical or lateral pressure is difficult to determine, and the question as to the true age and formation of the greenstone, diorite, and other plutonic (or perhaps metamorphic) rocks, must for the present be left in abeyance. Drs. Unger and Kotschy remark that the dislocations and disturbances of the strata, which are perceptible in the older rocks, appear to have a local character, and do not seem to have been coeval with the general up-lifting of the island, and they consider that the eruption of trachyte, though small, may have had no small share in these disturbances. The portion of the island left submerged in comparatively shallow water was now covered by the pliocene fossiliferous deposit, after which a slight upheaval took place, and the quaternary conglomerates and sands were next formed. Lastly, the whole island was raised by an extensive upheaval of about 500 feet, and it then assumed its present form and relief; it is believed that this alteration of level was preceded by violent storms which had the effect of washing away a great portion of the conglomerate deposit. The littoral cordon, which contains numerous fossils almost identical with living species, is similar to that which appears on nearly all the eastern shores of the Mediterranean; its formation is therefore due to something more than a local occurrence, and has been attributed to a general fall in
the level of the water of the Mediterranean, and it is very possible that this is the true solution. These changes do not seem to be by any means at an end, for in both pre-historic and in historic times, and even up to the present day, they have continued under the form of earthquakes and alterations of level, of greater or less force and extent.
Drs. Unger and Kotschy consider that the upheaval by which the marine sedimentary strata of the island were raised above the level of sea, probably established a land communication with Syria; this supposition alone may account for the concordance of the Cyprian fauna and flora with those of the neighbouring continent. The connection, if not removed by ordinary erosion, may have been taken away by the sinking of the isthmus shortly before the historic period, in consequence of one of the commotions alluded to above.
The METALS OF CYPRUS.
Cyprus has contained, and very probably still possesses great metallic wealth; the working of the mines in ancient days is proved by the unanimous testimony of all authors to have been a source of great riches; the positions of the mines are still visible, and the accumulations of scoriae which are found in many spots show the existence of the foundries. The district which appears to have been most worked is that round Lisso, a village situated near the Western extremity of the Olympus range, in the midst of porphyritic rocks abounding in minerals. At Djinhoussa in the same neighbourhood the remains of ancient mines and galleries are very distinct. Near Poli-tou-Khrysokho, on the coast, are three large mounds of scoriae, and from its situation, this place appears to have once been a busy mining centre. Near Lithrodonda there are also traces of mining operations on a large scale, and evidences of extensive excavations are apparent at Tamassus, Lefcara, Phinicarga, Arediou, Corno, and Soli.
As all mining operations in Cyprus have long since been abandoned, information regarding the various metals supposed to exist in the island can only be gathered from ancient writers, and from the above-ground observations of geologists and travellers,
1. The authors of ancient times appear to make no mention of the existence of gold in Cyprus, but Etienne de Lusignan, writing in 1580, says that Cinyras found a mine of gold; he does not, however, mention from what source he obtained this information. Pliny tells us that Cinyras discovered copper in the island, but he says nothing about gold. Porcacchi da Castiglione, a contemporary of Etienne de Lusignan, speaks of gold, and goes so far as to assert
that a vein of this metal existed at Poli-tou-Khrysokho ; it is true
that this name certainly does mean a “town in the land of gold,” but Gaudry, having carefully examined the locality, has come to the conclusion that very probably some sparkling substances, such as copper- or iron-pyrites, or even mica, may have been mistaken for gold by persons, unlearned in mineralogy. It is, however, quite possible that in the quartz and in the pyrites there
may be traces of gold, but no competent authority has yet proclaimed the fact. 2. Strabo, on the testimony of Eratosthenes, mentions the existence of silver mines in Cyprus, and in the history of Pliny we read of molybdenite and silver being found at Cape Zephyrium, near Palae Paphos. Dr. Pococke writes that the Monte S. Croce contains lead mines, but no traveller in Cyprus has in modern times actually seen either the silver or lead. Gaudry says that he searched both the localities above mentioned, and could find no trace of either metal, but he still considers it quite possible that the Cyprian sulphide of copper, may, as is generally the case, contain traces of silver. 3. Copper mining in Cyprus dates from very ancient times; Pliny states that the first discovery of the metal was made in this island. Aristotle, Strabo, and Galien expatiate upon the extreme richness of the copper mines at Tyrria, Tamassus, and Soli. In more modern times, copper was still the most renowned metal of Cyprus, and in 1576 testimony of this fact is borne by Porcacchi da Castiglione and by Etienne de Lusignan. Various minerals of copper such as malachite, chrysocolla, chalcopyrite, &c., have been found in the island. The working of this metal has undoubtedly been both an important branch of industry and source of wealth in Cyprus, but later mines have been entirely neglected. The quality of the Cyprus copper was famous, the “aes cyprium ” was considered superior to any other. 4. Gaudry says that he discovered no zinc in Cyprus, and that the presence of this metal could not be detected in any of the scoriae subjected to analysis by M. Terreil; but the latter fact is, however, no proof of its previous non-existence in the rock, for it is well known that zinc volatilizes and rarely leaves any traces in scoriae. Ancient authors, Dioscorides, Pliny, and Galien write positively concerning the excellence of the pompholyx and the calamine of Cyprus, and these minerals are respectively the oxide and carbonate of zinc. They appear to have been worked at Soli. According to Gaudry, iron abounds in Cyprus, both in the state of sulphide and hydrous oxide; it is to be found at Monte S. Croce of excellent quality in the form of scaly crystals. The metal does not . to have been worked in either ancient or modern times, and the above author considers the statement of Sonnini that iron mines are scattered over the island, to have been based upon false information. 6. The peroxide of manganese is abundant; it is found in various conditions, sometimes it is in a pulverulent state, and sometimes hardened by silex. It occurs in threads, or else disseminated throughout the igneous rocks near their line of contact with the sedimentary formations. This substance was known to the ancients as black manganese, and it is consequently strange that no mention of its occurrence in Cyprus is made by the historians of the island, as it is found not only in the rocks, but also in great quantities in the scoriae,
2. Silver and lead.
Limestones and sandstones.
Cyprus is rich in excellent building materials. The compact limestone of the Cerinea range is a good and durable stone, it is especially suitable for the capitals of pillars, for friezes, and for any part of a building which requires carving; still this rock rarely has the grain of marble, nor is it entirely either black or grey, but of varied tints. Much of the formation being in contact with the plutonic rocks has become cracked or schistose, and solid blocks of large dimensions are not easily obtained. Cyprus possesses no true marbles, and it is probably on this account that the monuments of antiquity have nearly disappeared, and that the art of sculpture was not more cultivated. For constructions where the stones should be large, but are not required to be built up to any very great height, the lower tertiary sandstones (the “macignos” of Gaudry, and the Vienna sandstone “ of Unger and Kotschy") may be used with advantage. They consist of alternate bands of hard and friable sandstone, and the hard parts are very easily separated from the friable beds, so that the stone can be worked without great labour. At Florence a similar stone has been used for the construction of several fine buildings. The most generally useful building stones of the island are, however, the coarse limestones of the littoral cordon. These pliocene and quaternary limestones are very like the coarse eocene limestone of Paris. The beds are very thick and regular, consequently stones of large dimensions can be cut from them. They may be worked on the surface of the ground close to the shore almost all round the island; and, as they can be shipped at once, their transport is both easy and cheap. The stone is generally not so hard as to make the working of it at all difficult, and it forms the usual building stone of the island. A curious example of its use is shown at Buffavento; here the castle actually stands on the compact limestone at a height of over 3,000 feet, but instead of using the latter material, it was referred to raise to this height, blocks of the limestone of the ittoral cordon. The gypsum of Cyprus was held in great esteem by the ancients; it is of very pure quality, and is found in great abundance amongst the white miocene mails all over the island, from Karpas in the east, to Drimou near the western extremity. The beds amongst the hills to the north west of Larnaca, along the road leading from that town to Dali, have been largely worked. It is found in several varieties; most frequently it is in a granulated form, but it also occurs almost compact, and can then be raised in large sheets. This gypsum forms an excellent material for the paving of rooms, and for some interior court-yards.