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Mt. Erciyes and Fairy Chimneys

Mt. Erciyes and Fairy Chimneys by voyageAnatolia
Mt. Erciyes and Fairy Chimneys, originally uploaded by voyageAnatolia.

A fairy chimney is a conical rock formation, typically found in the Cappadocia region of Turkey. It consists of a cap of hard rock resting on a cone-shaped pinnacle of softer rock. In Cappadocia, houses have been carved from these formations, and they make a popular travel destination.

The geology of areas where fairy chimneys form typically comprises a thick layer of tuff (consolidated volcanic ash), covered by a thin layer of basalt or other volcanic rocks that are more resistant to erosion than the underlying tuff. Over time, cracks in the basalt allow the much softer tuff to be eroded and washed away. Fairy chimneys are formed where a small cap or boulder of the original basalt remains, and protects a cone of tuff beneath it from erosion. Eventually, the tuff will be undercut to the extent that the cap falls off, and the remaining cone is then quickly eroded.

Seen Mount Erciyes, a massive stratovolcano located 25 km south of Kayseri, Turkey, home to the Erciyes Ski Resort, between fairy chimneys near Urgup. The volcano is heavily eroded, but may have erupted as recently as 253 BC, as may be depicted on Roman era coins. Strabo wrote that in his time the summit was never free from snow and that those few who ascended it could see both the Black Sea and the Mediterranean.

One Thousand and One Nights Gate into the hill: Looking inside hidden cave church of ancient Cappadocia in a natural volcanic rock hill.
Ancient Cappadocia

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