Pockets Full of Rocks

This is a story about a young woman whose deeply bedded passion for geology led her on a journey of a lifetime. All her life she’s held an interest for rocks. Perhaps this is because her mother had a business called, Nature’s Treasure Chest, where she would sell agates, rocks, jewelry made out of crystals, and even clocks. Ah, yes, this little girl loved looking at rocks but she didn’t know much about them. Still she collected all the rocks she could at the beach, the lake, and even in parking lots from the planters. At first her parents thought it was cute until soon everything was filled with rocks! What they didn’t know was their little rock collector would find her way to Santorini, Greece collecting more rocks. Cape Mavropetra, Santorini is the place where she’d be. The beach littered with all the rock types seen throughout Santorini. Why is this? Keep reading and you’ll find out! Continue reading “Pockets Full of Rocks”

A History of Destruction – What Future Awaits?

I came to this island knowing little of what to expect. I traveled halfway across the world, across the Atlantic Ocean, to a country I’ve never been to before. It’s my first time leaving the U.S. and traveling to a country different from my own. In the beginning, I applied to the program on a whim and I was ecstatic that I was accepted into … Continue reading A History of Destruction – What Future Awaits?

Explosive Tourism

Tickets! Tickets please!
Oh, hello there! Are you here for the geology tour of Santorini? I’ll be taking a group on a tour around the island to the see the active volcanic dome, the Akrotiri Archaeological site, different beaches created by volcanic events, and much more! It all starts here at Fira port and all you need is a tick-Ah! I see you’ve already got one. Perfect! Climb aboard my boat, the Gem of the Sea, and let the adventure begin! Continue reading “Explosive Tourism”

Back In Time: The Day Of The Minoan Eruption.

Hello, First I must begin by requesting that my stories and journals remain anonymous. To the chosen student that I have decided to leave all my works to in case of an emergency, I urge you to change the names of all the participants of this quest. It is very important that you understand the severity of the situation if we were to ever be … Continue reading Back In Time: The Day Of The Minoan Eruption.

A Beautiful Place with a Frightening Reality

After living in California on the San Andreas fault, I never realized how many people did not know how dangerous it was and all of the misconceptions people had about the fault. Before I started taking geology classes, I was definitely one of those people. I knew that it was there, but I really did not know much about it. I didn’t know the risks … Continue reading A Beautiful Place with a Frightening Reality

A Simple and Easy Math Problem

On June 13th we returned to the Cape Akrotiri lighthouse where we first looked at the domes that formed the Akrotiri peninsula. This time, Lisa wanted to show us the most massive block she’s ever seen. A block is a solidified rock that is thrown up into the air during an eruption, and can be any shape. This blocks shape was gigantic. 

We walked down the slope behind the Akrotiri lighthouse. Lisa pointed out the thin layer of pumice from Phase 1 of the eruption which consisted of pumice fall. On top of Phase 1 was the white lapilli and ash beds of Phase 2 that were deposited as a result of pyroclastic surges. Pyroclastic surges are turbulent clouds of ash and lapilli and lithic fragments that tumble across the landscape outward from the vent depositing the material according to density. Lithic fragments are usually deposited together in a pyroclastic surge because of their density. The giant block Lisa brought us down there to see was obviously too large to be carried by a pyroclastic surge. It wasn’t even close to the size of the lithic fragments carried by the surge. So how did it get there? 

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Ignorance is Not Bliss: What Doomed Pompeii and Saved Akrotiri

Throughout our study here on Santorini, our geologic knowledge was built up to one main event: the Minoan eruption. As an anthropology major, all I was concerned about was the settlement of Akrotiri, which was preserved beneath the ash. As I wandered through the excavation site of Akrotiri, I began to draw comparisons between this city and the city of Pompeii.
The main point of difference between these two very similar cases is the death toll. Akrotiri excavations have turned up no human remains, or any sign of human activity during the eruption at all. This indicates that the Minoans evacuated before the eruption even began, most likely during the preliminary earthquakes. Conversely, Pompeii is closely linked in memory to the bodies found preserved in casts of ash. While all of Pompeii has not be excavated, the number of bodies found represents a tenth of the overall population, putting the death toll in the thousands.
I began to wonder: why did Akrotiri evacuate and not Pompeii? There are several possible factors that could have led to the Minoans abandoning their city before the real danger even began.

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Pumice and Wine: A Tasty Mix

No matter your destination while you’re on Santorini, you’re bound to see at least one vineyard. Unless you know that Santorini is known for its wine, you might not be able to tell that these are grape plants at all. Due to the high winds on Santorini, the grape vines are grown using a technique called koulara. Koulara trains the grapes to grow in a circular fashion and stay low to the ground to avoid damage (1). The Minoan eruption, the most recent caldera forming eruption, deposited volcanic rocks, ash, and pumice all around the island of Santorini. Little did the violent volcano know that it would be providing Santorini with its distinct wine!

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