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The Lavrion Mines: A Unique Site of Geological and Mineralogical Heritage

Faculty of Geology & Geoenvironment, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, 15784 Athens, Greece
Faculty of Geology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54124 Thessaloniki, Greece
Hellenic Survey of Geology and Mineral Exploration (HSGME), 13677 Acharnae, Greece
Institut für Mineralogie und Kristallographie, Universität Wien, 1090 Wien, Austria
Mineralogisch-Petrographische Abteilung, Naturhistorisches Museum, 1010 Wien, Austria
Faculté des Sciences et Technologies, CNRS, GeoRessources UMR 7359, Université de Lorraine, 54506 Vandoeuvre-lès-Nancy, France
Département de Géologie et de Génie Géologique, Université Laval, Québec, QC G1V 0A6, Canada
HISCANT-MA, Université de Lorraine, 54015 Nancy, France
Géosciences Environnement Toulouse (GET), CNRS, Université de Toulouse, 31400 Toulouse, France
Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA
School of Earth Sciences, University of Western Australia, Perth 6907, Australia
École Normale Supérieure de Lyon, Laboratoire de Géologie de Lyon, Terre, Planète, Environnement, 69364 Lyon, France
Faculty of Geology, Moscow State University, Vorobievy Gory, 119991 Moscow, Russia
Institute of Problems of Chemical Physics, Russian Academy of Sciences, 142432 Moscow, Russia
Institut für Mineralogie, TU Bergakademie Freiberg, 09599 Freiberg, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Minerals 2021, 11(1), 76;
Received: 23 December 2020 / Revised: 11 January 2021 / Accepted: 11 January 2021 / Published: 14 January 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Minerals in Cultural and Geological Heritage)
The Lavrion area corresponds to the western part of the Attic-Cycladic metamorphic belt, in the back-arc region of the active Hellenic subduction zone. Between the Eocene and the Miocene, metamorphic rocks (mainly marbles and schists) underwent several stages of metamorphism and deformation due to collision and collapse of the Cycladic belt. Exhumation during the Miocene was accommodated by the movement of a large-scale detachment fault system, which also enhanced emplacement of magmatic rocks, leading to the formation of the famous Lavrion silver deposits. The area around the mines shows the stacking of nappes, with ore deposition mainly localized within the marbles, at marble-schist contacts, below, within, or above the detachment. The Lavrion deposit comprises five genetically-related but different styles of mineralization, a feature never observed in another ore deposit elsewhere, containing the highest number of different elements of any known mining district. The local geology, tectonic, and magmatic activity were fundamental factors in determining how and when the mineralization formed. Other key factors, such as the rise and the fall of sea level, which resulted from climate change over the last million years, were also of major importance for the subsequent surface oxidation at Lavrion that created an unmatched diversity of secondary minerals. As a result, the Lavrion deposit contains 638 minerals of which Lavrion is type-locality for 23 of them, which is nearly 12% of all known species. Apart from being famous for its silver exploitation, this mining district contains more minerals than any other district on Earth. The unique geological, mineralogical, and educational (mining, archaeological, and environmental) features suggest that it is highly suitable to be developed as a future UNESCO Global Geopark. View Full-Text
Keywords: Lavrion; Attica; minerals; ore deposits; geoheritage; cultural heritage; geotope Lavrion; Attica; minerals; ore deposits; geoheritage; cultural heritage; geotope
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MDPI and ACS Style

Voudouris, P.; Melfos, V.; Mavrogonatos, C.; Photiades, A.; Moraiti, E.; Rieck, B.; Kolitsch, U.; Tarantola, A.; Scheffer, C.; Morin, D.; Vanderhaeghe, O.; Spry, P.G.; Ross, J.; Soukis, K.; Vaxevanopoulos, M.; Pekov, I.V.; Chukanov, N.V.; Magganas, A.; Kati, M.; Katerinopoulos, A.; Zaimis, S. The Lavrion Mines: A Unique Site of Geological and Mineralogical Heritage. Minerals 2021, 11, 76.

AMA Style

Voudouris P, Melfos V, Mavrogonatos C, Photiades A, Moraiti E, Rieck B, Kolitsch U, Tarantola A, Scheffer C, Morin D, Vanderhaeghe O, Spry PG, Ross J, Soukis K, Vaxevanopoulos M, Pekov IV, Chukanov NV, Magganas A, Kati M, Katerinopoulos A, Zaimis S. The Lavrion Mines: A Unique Site of Geological and Mineralogical Heritage. Minerals. 2021; 11(1):76.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Voudouris, Panagiotis, Vasilios Melfos, Constantinos Mavrogonatos, Adonis Photiades, Eugenia Moraiti, Branko Rieck, Uwe Kolitsch, Alexandre Tarantola, Christophe Scheffer, Denis Morin, Olivier Vanderhaeghe, Paul G. Spry, James Ross, Konstantinos Soukis, Markos Vaxevanopoulos, Igor V. Pekov, Nikita V. Chukanov, Andreas Magganas, Marianna Kati, Athanasios Katerinopoulos, and Stefanos Zaimis. 2021. "The Lavrion Mines: A Unique Site of Geological and Mineralogical Heritage" Minerals 11, no. 1: 76.

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