Welcome to the what to do and what not to do while in the island of Santorini. One important aspect to know is that though the world renown cliffs of Santorini are beautiful they are misunderstood because of their dangers. Though Santorini is gorgeous, the island is filled with hazards of mass wasting. Mass wasting is an event where any type of material where it be rocks, mud, and or cement from any of the cities weathers and erodes from its original position.
Figure 1: a photo of Oia and its land deposits
Unfortunately, I was not in Santorini during their winter months but from this past winter there has been way more rainfall then expected. And one of the major reasons for surface deposits is because of rain. From the diagram below from Climate to Travel they show the annual precipitation on the island. So if you wanna go to Santorini just make sure that you bring a jacket because there will be rain.
In the Aegean Sea, weather is very warm and humid, but there are not massive amounts of rainfall that comes to Santorini. In table 1 above the main source of rain comes from the winter months. When it rains on the island, precipitation comes down, in a short time, thus causing flash floods. With the loose sediment on the cliffs of the island, they become more susceptible to movement. With wet surfaces, the material becomes slippery and slide down. For Santorini’s sake mass wasting is very common and very hazardous.
Figure 2 and 3: the first image is Therassia with older mass wasting and the second image is Imerovigli with older mass deposits as well.
These two photos show some mass movements inside the caldera rim. Yet these deposits occurred quite a long time ago. From these gravity fed movement there has been continuous amount of material falling over a period of time.
Figure 4: this is a photo of Fira with a young mass wasting, coming from the 2018 winter
These cities have experienced many winters and some of these mass wasting events have occurs from past rainfalls. The bottom right photo of Fira is the most recent gravity fed material. In fact the mass movement caused the entire gold road close. Causing the backup in traffic and anger with the tourists. Tourists that could be you. To be honest though, the views are worth it though.
We live on this earth where the dangers in life are concealed from us because of its ability to hide its hazards. From first glance you only see an island where you can enjoy your vacation or work. But on the inside, where most people don’t see, is the mass wasting from rainfall that creates such hazards. So for the next time are on the caldera rim make sure to look down and make sure you are safe because there is a lot of geology going on down below. So from the image below from a research post they show the ability to have mass wasting.￼
V. Antoniou, S. Lappas, Ch. leoussis, and P. Nomikou, January 2017, Landslide Risk Assessment of the Santorini Volcanic Group, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/316866359_Landslide_Risk_Assessment_of_the_Santorini_Volcanic_Group, June, 2019
Climate to Travel, Climate-Santorini, https://www.climatestotravel.com/climate/greece/santorini, June 2019