GREECE & ISLES
Thíra Island, Aegean Sea - In about 1640 BC a
gigantic eruption occurred on the eastern Mediterranean island of Thíra
(Thera), also known as Santoríni. The eruption was so destructive that it
was probably a factor in the decline of the Minoan culture. Although no
direct records of the eruption exist, we can infer that it had a widespread
impact on the Minoan civilization on nearby Crete and other islands. Many
scholars attribute the legend of the lost continent of Atlantis to this
eruption. The disaster may have been the basis for Greek philosopher Plato’s
writings on the lost continent of Atlantis. It certainly devastated the
island of Thíra, causing a large part of it to be submerged under the sea as
a volcanic caldera known as Santoríni. Today the volcano is a huge caldera
called Santoríni that is submerged in the sea and nearly encircled by what
remained of Thíra after the eruption. The island is now one of the Aegean
Islands of Greece. Several minor lava eruptions have built up two small
islands in the caldera’s center. The last of these eruptions was in 1950.
Although that eruption was minor, the history of this volcano shows that it
is capable of truly enormous explosions that would have devastating effects.
Cliffs with major & Capital city of FIRA Harbor
Santorini is complex of overlapping shield volcanoes. Basalt and andesite lava flows that make the shield are exposed in the cliff below the town of Phira. Some of the cliff is thought to be a caldera wall associated with an eruption 21,000 year ago. Druitt and Francaviglia (1992) found evidence of at least 12 large explosive eruptions in the last 200,000 years at Santorini. The white layer at the top is the Minoan tephra from the 1,650 B.C. eruption. Photography copyrighted by Robert Decker.
Santorini Harbor with path to top. Lava entrapped homes
Fira's catholic quarter with cathedral. Anaphi Fira, Santorini's capital at sunset. (Pfeffier)
.......next stop is one of my favorites.....Rhodes and particularly Lindos.
COME BACK SOON