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The Evripos Straight in Greece

By Spiros Tzelepis

When the sea becomes a river

Evripos Straight is a channel which separates the mainland Greece from a big island called Evia. This straight connects two gulfs and it is the place where a strange natural phenomenon occurs.

The arrow indicates the Evripos Straight on the map of Greece

Particularly in this place, the tide gives the viewer the impression that there is a river, the water of which flows sometimes to the north and sometimes to the south. One has the impression that the one gulf empties its water to the other one.

The phenomenon in progress at the most narrow point of the Straight

As the water arrives at the narrow passage of the straight, it goes up while it comes down in the other gulf. When it passes the passage it reaches a speed of 6-9 miles an hour until the 22-23th of each month. After this date and until the 30th of the month its speed is reduced to 2-5 miles an hour. The first stream is called "the normal stream" and the second one "the abnormal stream".

A view of the water as it flows.

The phenomenon attracted the curiosity of many scientists from the ancient years until today. The conclusion of all the proposed theories is that the cause of this strange thing is the pull of the moon and the sun on the sea. Additionally the scientists have noticed that except from the pull, other causes may be related to the Evripos phenomenon: the atmospheric conditions (winds, barometric pressure, the form of the nearby coast, the level of the two gulfs and the phases of the moon.

It seems that this is the result of interaction between many factors. If you ever come to Greece you may pay a visit to Chalkis, the city built on both sides of the straight. You will enjoy a nice fish meal by the sea at the nearby restaurants and you will experience this abnormal water movement.

Photos taken by Spiros Tzelepis. The map is from the geography textbook used in the Second class of the Greek Junior Highschool. The explanation of the phenomenon was provided by my physics teacher as a result of a discussion I had with him.

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Reconstruction: July-August-September 2002

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