Science & Technology

Turkish Cotton Castle – Travertine’s World’s Largest Deposit


October 9, 2021

The hot springs in Pamukkale, Turkey, created the largest travertine deposit in the world.

Hot springs and hot springs in Pamukkale, Turkey have been spiritual, cultural and recreational destinations for thousands of years. In the 2nd century BC, the ancient Greek-Roman city of Hierapolis was built on the terrace of Travertine. Travertine is a type of rock that forms when calcium carbonate precipitates from hot water. At the nearby Cleopatra pool, visitors can swim between the broken pillars that collapsed during the Laodicea earthquake in the early 7th century AD.Hierapolis-Pamkkale Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site 1988.

The world’s largest deposit of such rocks is in western Anatolia, Turkey, where the Earth’s crust is separated. This extension of the crust creates many faults and rifts, along with volcanoes, earthquakes, and geothermal activity.

One of the largest sections is the 6 km long Pamukkale Plateau at the northern end of the Denizli Basin, with an average rock thickness of 50 meters. This location has a magnificent array of white calcite terraces and rimstone pools cascaded on a 200-meter-high cliff on the raised side of the Pamukkale fault. Pamukkale, named after the white rock, is translated as “cotton castle” or “cotton palace”.

The Pamukkale deposit, seen in white in the image above, covers 12 square kilometers (5 square miles). This image was taken by Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on October 9, 2021. NASATerra satellite. Images were collected in visible and near infrared (bands 3, 2, 1) where the vegetation looks red.

Water temperatures in these pools and springs range from 19 to 57 degrees Celsius. Celsius (65-135 degrees Fahrenheit), However, some reach temperatures above 100 degrees Celsius. Travertine is formed when stormwater penetrates a network of faults and cracks and is heated by magma deep underground. Hot water leaches calcium, magnesium and other minerals from the bedrock of limestone. The saturated solution then permeates the surface and returns, reappearing from the surface spring where the minerals settle.

Travertine deposition has occurred in the region for at least 600,000 years since the Pleistocene era. However, much of the sediment in Pamukkale has occurred over the last 50,000 years. Studies show that the current hydrothermal and sedimentary system was established after the Laodicea earthquake in the 7th century.

The temperature regime has also changed over time. Calcite travertine precipitates from hot springs, but cooler forms more porous tufa deposits. Sediment dating and geochemical analysis show that water temperatures have dropped since the Pleistocene era.

Image of NASA Earth Observatory by Lauren Dauphin using data from NASA / METI / AIST / Japan Space Systems Development Promotion Organization and US / Japan ASTER Science Team.

Turkish Cotton Castle – Travertine’s World’s Largest Deposit Turkish Cotton Castle – Travertine’s World’s Largest Deposit

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