The uniqueness of the Agia Marina Fossil Forest though, lies in the way all those trees were petrified: In contrast with other fossil forests around Greece, they weren’t Pyritized, or Mummified because of volcaninc eruptions, but fossilized through a different process: Permineralization.
2 to 3 million years ago, when the climate in the area was sub-tropical, there was an extensive palm forest where palm trees coexisted with pines and other wide leaved trees. A violent flood however (possibly due to volcanic activity) struck the area and the forest was submerged in water. Most of the trees were destroyed and their roots where covered by deposits, sand, pebbles and other materials brought from the seabed, mostly composed by calcium.
Over the flooded forest came various marine animals of newer geological age, among them moluscs, sea urchins, seashells and crustaceans. Many of them were also fossilized later and their fossils can be found for many kilometers along the coast of cape Maleas. The parts of trees however that were immediately covered by sand and calcitic deposits had a different fate: The plant tissues, under the influence of calcium carbonate were gradually transitioned to stone. Unlike other types of fossils which are typically impressions or compressions, petrified wood is a three-dimensional representation of the original organic material.
Today, parts of the flooded area are in dry land again, and the trees, stand once again under the Greek sun.
The drive from Neapoli is straightforward and will take around 40 minutes. Follow the signs towards Agios Nikolaos and continue towards the small seaside village of Profitis Ilias. Shortly before reaching the village there’s a sign showing the way. Follow the dirtroad for a few kilometers to reach the site. There are some information panels along the dirt road. If you have bicycles on the camper it is suggested that you park the camper in Profitis Ilias village and you go on bike to the fossil forest.
GPS coordinates: N 36.439339 E23.1198769
**Tip: Near the petrified palm forest is the village of Agios Nicolaos and the tavern “Neraida” that is an excellent choice for dinner. (Lat 36.47764, Long 23.1017988)