Professors and undergraduate students of the China University of Geosciences pose for a group photo with professors and students of the University of the Aegean during a field course at the Petrified Forest in Sigri of Lesvos, Greece, Aug. 18, 2016. The School of Earth Sciences of the China University of Geosciences started field education on the Greek island of Lesvos in cooperation with the Department of Geography of the University of the Aegean. (Xinhua/Anthi Pazianou)
by Anthi Pazianou
MYTILENE, Greece, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) -- The School of Earth Sciences of the China University of Geosciences started field education on the Greek island of Lesvos in collaboration with the Department of Geography of the University of the Aegean.
Professors and undergraduate students of the China University of Geosciences started one-week field courses in Lesvos on Tuesday, collaborating with professors and students of the Department of Geography of Aegean University.
The main targets of the field courses are the study of the geological history and evolution, volcanic activity, active tectonics and seismicity of the area of the Aegean basin, as well as the protection and rational management of geological monuments and the establishment and functioning of a UNESCO global geopark on Lesvos.
Lesvos island is recognized as one of the 120 UNESCO global geoparks program, launched in November 2015. Paying homage to the rich geographical diversity of China, the same program also recognized 33 geoparks in China.
Nikolas Zouros, professor of Geography at the university of the Aegean, told Xinhua that collaboration and networking in research and education is one of the key elements to be recognized as a UNESCO global geoparks. Thus, universities and research centers of the two countries find a common ground for activities.
Professors and students of the China University of Geosciences started their educational activities on Lesvos island from the protected area of the Lesvos Petrified Forest, which is a world-class natural monument.
The petrified forest "gives evidence of the geological evolution and life evolution in the Eastern Mediterranean over the last 25 million years," said Zouros.
Zouros, who is also the director of the Natural History Museum of the Lesvos Petrified Forest, introduced them to the geological history and presented the main geological heritage sites of Lesvos island to the Chinese guests.
The petrified forest provides an impressive exhibition of the paleontological excavation research findings as well as an overview of the geological evolution of the Aegean Sea.
The open-air parks of the forest give the opportunity to study the results of the past climate changes and to admire unique standing fossil trees of more than 50 different species, some over 7 meters high.
Chinese students visited the Nissiopi islet petrified forest marine park which also includes petrified trees found along the seashore and on the seabed. The visit also includes studying the flora and fauna of the island, consisting of 62 species of birds, mammals, and invertebrates.
They will do field study on the geological history and evolution of Lesvos, the Miocene volcanoes of Lesvos island as well as the active faults and earthquake hazard in the region.
"This common education activity will become a starting point for the establishment of Lesvos island as the annual field education basis abroad," Zouros said.