5 May 2011
Near Denizli, in central Turkey, there is a massive deposit of travertine called Pamukkale, a moniker that translates from the Turkish as “cotton castle.” Like Mammoth Hot Springs in the northwestern corner of Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, Pamukkale is calcite deposited by a hot spring whose source waters flow through subterranean limestone strata. The calcite is dissolved below the surface, then carried upward and in the cooler conditions at the surface and particularly with a little turbulence, the solutes re-precipitate in layer after layer of white rock. If you’ve been to Mammoth, you know what this looks like. Now picture a travertine mound that is at least ten times larger than Mammoth, and with the ruins of a Roman city on top. That’s Pamukkale.
I have a gazillion photos, so I reckon I ought to serialize posting them for your edification and amusement. Here’s batch #1: