Star Wars Fairy Chimneys Threatened By Power Plants and Discos!

cappadocia fairy chimneys in Turkey star wars under threatRemember them in the movie Star Wars? Historic Turkish Wonder under threat from severe man-caused erosion in the coming years.

A UNESCO World Heritage site, and a favorite backdrop for hot ballooning in Turkey, the iconic “fairy chimney” rock formations of Cappadocia, in central Anatolia, draw more than 1 million tourists to Turkey each year. Only 300 of the formations are officially registered with the Tourism Ministry, according to official statistics, although the 40-square-kilometer site is covered with them. Without any effort made to preserve the delicate structures, warns a Turkish geologist, they’ll begin to erode away rapidly over coming years.

Natural erosion from wind is hugely amplified by vibrations in the air from traffic, construction, or even the nearby discos built for tourists, according to Erçin Kasapoğlu, a geologist from Hacettepe University in Ankara.

She recommends closing the discos and redirecting traffic as far from the formations as possible.

A hydroelectric power plant built on a nearby river could also pose a threat to the rock formations, says Kasapoğlu, by increasing the level of humidity in the air. A normal level of humidity slows down wind formation, but excess humidity can speed it up.

“Water seeping into fairy chimneys causes erosion,” Kasapoğlu told Turkish independent media agency Bianet. “This is why we need to be so careful while building hotels around the area, too.”

Posing a danger to tourists

Although several major rockslides have already taken place in Cappadocia in recent years, there are no plans to implement any extra protection measures against erosion, according to officials from the municipality in charge of the Cappadocia zone.

In 2010, a hotel storage area was struck by the collapse of a fairy chimney 25 meters high. In 2007, three people died when rocks collapsed on top of a disco.

Kasapoğlu has already outlined a protection plan for the formations, but the municipality rejected it because of budget constraints.

:: Bianet

Read more about efforts to protect Turkey’s natural heritage:
Hydroelectric Dam Threatens Ecological Massacre, According to Turkish Conservationist
As He Battles Lawsuit, Grandfather of Turkish Environmental Movement Receives Right Livelihood Award
In Remotest Anatolia, Lone NGO Speaks Up On Nature’s Behalf

Image via myhsu

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One thought on “Star Wars Fairy Chimneys Threatened By Power Plants and Discos!”

  1. JTR says:

    The Turkish authorities want to build a hydro-electric power station to serve their growing population. But if all women were free to decide if and when to conceive and birth their children, the population would stop growing and there would be no need for the power plant

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