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Blue Volcanoes - NISYROS

Blue Volcanoes: NISYROS

Author: George E. Vougioukalakis

Published by: Nisyros Regional Council 1998

ISBN no: 960-86215-1-8

Review by Ed Prothero

Although this book is primarily a description of the geological make-up of Nisyros, it is not written purely for scientists, and makes interesting reading for anybody visiting the island. It is worth the purchase price (2,200 drx) for the photographs alone, which depict the island's natural beauty.

After the prologue is the introduction, which describes the island in just enough detail not to be tedious, with all the important facts and figures about Nisyros and its flora and fauna today. The book then goes on to describe how volcanoes are formed, and Nisyros in particular. There are diagrams, maps and pictures to explain all this to the non-scientist, and I found these very useful.

The Greek myth describing the creation of the island begins the chapter that chronicles the various volcanic eruptions that formed the island as we know it, and the creation of the many different types of rock found in Nisyros explained. I found this all fascinating and very educational - for example, previously I had no idea that there were different types of volcanic eruptions.

The book quotes from historical accounts of the more recent eruptions, and again I found these extremely interesting, although I cannot see the point in printing them in their original language (e.g. French, Latin) as well as in the language of the reader.

There is also a description of the formation of Yiali, and then a description of the rocks of Nisyros, which is probably of greater interest to people with more knowledge of geology than myself, but still very readable.

The book finishes by reporting on the current state of the volcano and then finishes with some suggested walks, which I am very keen to try. Inside the rear cover of the book is a fold-out geological map of the island, which shows the huge diversity of rock formations on Nisyros.

Apart from one or two typographical errors (most notably an unfortunately obscene one on page 39) this is an excellently produced work. It was the idea of John Kulakis, President of the Nisyros Regional Council, who was also responsible for co-ordinating the project. He is to be congratulated.

The book is available in Greek, English and German and can be bought at many of the shops on the island.

August 1999