Cyprus Topography / Geology

Two mountain ranges, the Troodos Range and the Keryneia Range, run from east to west across the island separated by the central Messaoria plain.

The densely forested Troodos Range in the south-west is a dome-shaped highland dominated by the islandΆs highest peak, Mount Olympus, at 1.953 meters above sea level. The entire Troodos massif takes up approximately one half the area of the island and constitutes the largest volume of ophiolite rock in the world. This unique mountain range consists of part of the earthΆs upper mantle, thrust upwards from the primordial seabed many millions of years ago. It is of great interest to geologists and allows access to geological strata that would otherwise remain concealed beneath the sea.

The narrower Keryneia Range in the north , mainly of limestone, rises up to 1.024 meters and is also known as the Pentadaktylos - or Five Finger mountain. It is made of a succession of mostly allochthonous sedimentary formations ranging from Permian to Middle Miocene in age. Karpassia, the northeastern part of the range, is a continuation of Pentadaktylos consisting of hills, slopes and valleys free of folding and other tectonic features.

The central Messaoria plain has a low relief and was formed during a very recent chronological period (Holocene). Cyprus is almost surrounded by coastal valleys where the soil is alluvial and fertile, suitable for agriculture. Arable land in Cyprus constitutes 46, 8% of the total area of the island. Rivers are seasonal and only flow after heavy rain.

Source: Press And Information Office, Republic Of Cyprus, 2005