What goes up must come down… Right?


This is it. This is the last blog topic of the term and I found myself once again struggling for a topic. We’ve experienced so much that just thinking about it makes my head spin. The first couple days into the class were quite possibly the worst and the best days of my life. The best because here I am, little ole me in another country submerging myself in a completely different culture and gaining new knowledge. The worst because here I am completely clueless about what we were learning. I knew this class would be difficult as it’s a class with graduate level material and I’m coming in as an upcoming sophomore.

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The Evolution of the Magma Chamber

The day that our class went to the lighthouse at the southern tip of the island was one of the few days that it rained on us. It was only sprinkling, but I frantically kneeled down trying to use my upper body to cover my notebook as I wrote down everything being said by our professor Lisa. As the rain stopped and the wind blew the clouds on their way all of us noticed a giant darker grey block of rock in the middle of a bunch of white pumice. This block had many crystals of minerals with brilliant colors in it. We all wondered, how it got there and what made this rock so different from the rest?

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Shake what Mama Earth Gave You

This week, the class took a 6 hour trip around the archipelago to hike the still active Nea Kameni volcano and observe the caldera rim up close. Also known as “Boat Day”, it was the climax of our 3 week visit to Santorini. I had never been on a small boat before, therefore I had no idea of how to move around the very turbulent vessel, nor whether I’m prone to sea sickness or not. Thankfully I gained my sea legs and enjoyed the excursion like it was an amusement park ride. The way the boat swayed under my feet and the balance I had to struggle to find reminded me of being in an earthquake. Continue reading “Shake what Mama Earth Gave You”

Walking up Cinder Cones

Growing up, I never payed much attention to cinder cones, a type of volcano that surrounded my hometown of Flagstaff, Arizona. They always seemed like an uninteresting buildup of red, rocky material. Even though I learned a little bit about them in my introductory geology classes, they seemed simple and uninteresting. Little did I know that a single hike up the side of a cinder cone built 76 thousand years ago would change my perspective on them.

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Until Next Time…

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to do something so unique that I hope to never forget. I have spent these past three weeks on the most beautiful volcanic island wondering how the active part of the volcano, Nea Kameni, was formed. My journey to learn more about Nea Kameni began at 9 in the morning when the class met outside of Lisa’s room to drive to Oia. Everyone was slightly grumpy from the early time but there was a buzz in the air from everyone’s excitement. It was FINALLY boat day. Boat day, in my opinion, is the most hyped up and exciting day of the whole trip. From getting to spend 6 hours on a boat on the open water, to walking on an active volcano, it was easily the best and most eye opening day of the trip.

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This is Not How I Woke Up but it’s How I Look Now

Standing at the stern of the ferry, I look out at the seemingly infinite depth of the Aegean. Taking cues from the wind, the invincible ocean dances calmly yet furiously beneath the boat. As though gasping for air, the waves rise and fall and crash into one another. When I first encountered this ferry, I remember thinking that it was the biggest thing I had ever seen. But as I watched the endless expanse of blue pass by, I couldn’t help but feel small and completely insignificant…

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Unpredictability of a Destructive Killer

I always find myself trailing behind the rest of the class, whether this be on hikes or walks to get gelato. I can’t help but be intrigued with everything I see… On the hike to the town of Oia, I gaze up and see the other ten of my classmates scribbling in their notebooks. Some students are frantically writing down everything my professor says, others are writing while carrying on side conversations about what they see. As for me, I step back and peer around the rim of the caldera. It wasn’t until this moment when I thought, “When will there be another volcanic eruption in Santorini?”

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The Colors of Santorini

We have been in Santorini for a total of 20 days, 480 hours, learning about the Santorini Volcano by day and dancing the night away. As our trip comes to an end, my mind is racing. Thinking about our first days in the field, creating stratigraphic columns with the sun beaming down on us and the sweat dripping down our faces. To our last field day roaming the Aegean Sea, traveling to Nea Kameni, and looking down into a dark-black hole, known as the drop-off of the caldera. I started to realize that I have been so focused on all the interior geological aspects that has made Santorini what it is today, that I haven’t had time to take in the exterior beauty of the island. I took a step back, closed my eyes, and let the views of Santorini wash over my body, getting the chills as I think of everywhere we’ve been. We have explored and hiked through a great amount of this island and it was filled with the most unique and breathtaking colors that you would have to see with your own eyes to get the feeling that I had. Continue reading “The Colors of Santorini”

Vacation While You Can

My first view of Santorini was from a crowded ferry deck. I had seen pictures of this place but pictures simply could not do this justice. I stood in awestruck silence taking in the scenes while enjoying the salty breeze, which was much welcomed on this scorching day. The towering cliffs of brown hues are peppered with perfectly contrasting white buildings. As I watched the scenery pass me by, I began to wonder what I would be learning in the next three weeks. I started thinking about the volcanic activity that created this island, as well as what would happen to it should there be another eruption. Would everything I see be destroyed? We sail past the old port with its winding switchbacks that make my legs tired just thinking about carrying my luggage. Thankfully our ship keeps moving toward a modern port where an air-conditioned car will be waiting to carry me, and my luggage, to the top of this steep sided caldera. Continue reading “Vacation While You Can”

The Dangers of Paradise

Pure white buildings cascade the small island. The blues domes of churches shine royal blue just as the ocean does reflecting the sun’s rays back to itself. Shoes are filled with a blend black, red and white sands from tracing foot prints into beaches. Streets are lined with cobble stones, stores crowd the pathway, smells of roasting meat and fresh baked pastries waft from restaurants. Cruise ships bring sunburnt beings, selfie sticks, and the clap of feet to enjoy gyros, Zorba music and unforgettable sunsets. This is Santorini.

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