The Lesvos Petrified Forest is one of the finest and rarest worldwide monuments of geological heritage. Th e petrified forest was created 20 million years ago, when large volcanic eruptions caused the earth to spew forth enormous quantities of volcanic material thus destroying the subtropical forests that once covered the region. Volcanic ash and large pyroclastic fl ows blanketed the vegetation. The circulation of fl uids rich in silicon through the volcanic materials created the ideal conditions for the fossilization of plants, enabling the perfect preservation of the features of the wood.
The Greek State, recognizing the great environmental, geological and paleontological value of the Petrified Forest of Lesvos, declared the 150,000 hectare park a “Natural Monument” (Decree 443/1985) .
Th e first references to the Petrifi ed Forest of Lesvos date from the 19th century. Since then, the Petrified Forest has intrigued many travelers and scholars. Scientists who have studied the Petrifi ed Forest refer to it with great admiration for its uniqueness and signifi cant scientifi c value, a forest which has been kept in excellent condition throughout the passage of time.
Th e high frequency of upright fossilized trunks with fully developed root systems proves that these trees were petrified in their natural growing positions. Thus this is an indigenous petrified forest.
Today in many places in western Lesvos, eroding volcanic rocks are revealing impressive standing and lying tree trunks that reach a length of up to twenty meters with diameters approaching three meters. In recent years, excavations in the region carried out by the Natural History Museum of the Lesvos Petrified Forest have brought to light findings of particular scientific value.