Pamukkale: Amazing Geological Wonder

Pamukkale, meaning "cotton castle" in Turkish, is a natural site in southwestern Turkey famous for its white travertine terraces. Travertine is a sedimentary rock deposited by mineral-rich springs. The water cascading down the cliffs of Pamukkale has over time created these terraces, resembling a frozen waterfall.

Pamukkale: Amazing Geological Wonder
Pamukkale: Amazing Geological Wonder

Pamukkale's terraces are made of travertine, a sedimentary rock deposited by water from the hot springs.

In this area, there are 17 hot water springs in which the temperature ranges from 35 °C (95 °F) to 100 °C (212 °F). The water that emerges from the spring is transported 320 metres (1,050 ft) to the head of the travertine terraces and deposits calcium carbonate on a section 60 to 70 metres (200 to 230 ft) long covering an expanse of 24 metres (79 ft) to 30 metres (98 ft).

Pamukkale: Amazing Geological Wonder
Pamukkale: Amazing Geological Wonder. Photo: Brocken Inaglory

Thermal sources on an important fault line of western Anatolia in Pamukkale are warmed up by subterranean heat and come out at 33-36 C. The water contains calcium hydro carbonate. Tectonic movements triggered frequent earthquakes in this area and gave rise to the emergence of a number of very hot springs. The water from these springs created Pamukkale with its large mineral content.

Measurements made at the source of the springs find atmospheric levels of 725 mg/l carbon dioxide, by the time this water flows across the travertines, this figure falls to 145 mg/l. Likewise calcium carbonate falls from 1200 mg/l to 400 mg/l and calcium 576.8 mg/l to 376.6 mg/l. From these results, it is calculated that 499.9 mg of CaCO3 is deposited on the travertine for every liter of water. This means that for a flow rate of 1 l/s of water 43,191 grams (1,523.5 oz) are deposited daily.

The average density of a travertine is 1.48 g/cm3 implying a deposit of 29.2 dm3. Given that the average flow of the water is 465.2 l/s this implies that it can whiten 13,584 square meters (146,220 sq ft) a day, but in practice, this area coverage is difficult to attain. These theoretical calculations indicate that up to 4.9 square kilometers it can be covered with a white deposit of 1 millimeter (0.039 in) thickness.

Pamukkale: Amazing Geological Wonder

The underground volcanic activity which causes the hot springs also forced carbon dioxide into a cave, which was called the Plutonium, which here means "place of the god Pluto".

It is located in Turkey's Inner Aegean region, in the River Menderes valley, which has a temperate climate for most of the year.

See also:
The Rainbow Mountains in Peru Very Amazing
'Mountain of God' the Weirdest Volcano in the World

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