I am a happy person. I like to laugh, eat good food with good people, read, and travel. But there have only been a handful of moments in my existence where I have felt truly full of life. June 13th, 2016 held one of those moments. Every passing day on this paradise, I learn or try something new, which is exciting in and of itself, but June 13th was different than the other days. That was the day that I decided geology and I would be together forever.
“[…] There occurred violent earthquakes and floods; and in a single day and night of misfortune all your warlike men in a body sank into the earth, and the island of Atlantis in like manner disappeared in the depths of the sea.”
In Critias and Timaeus, Plato tells the tale of a utopia devoured by the sea and never seen again. Many are familiar with the myth of Atlantis and most know it to be just that: a fable for the children, a simple story to spark the imagination. But I refuse to believe that. Though there is very little physical evidence to support Atlantis’ existence, there are a few lines in Plato’s dialog that make a convincing argument.
It’s Monday, November 30th, 2015, 11:30 am. Today is the day I will be learning about a topic I have anticipated since the beginning of Geologic Disasters. I will be learning all about rivers and flooding! Sitting in class I hear moans and groans about this. A lesson that seems so tedious and dull to my classmates was actually fascinating and thrilling to myself. I was finally going to learn about a topic I could personally connect with.
There is a silence as I enter the climate controlled dome to see the ancient city of Akrotiri. This is partially due to being told “Shhhhhh” by our professor Lisa, but it’s also because everyone’s jaw dropped while staring at these ruins. The only thing that could be heard was the pitter patter of feet from children and even they weren’t saying anything. It was like entering a 3600 year old church frozen in time by ash and pumice with even the colors of the frescoes being preserved. Continue reading “Buried Treasure: The City of Akrotiri”
Walking through the door that led to the excavated remains of the ancient city of Akrotiri, I wondered what I would see. I remembered learning about the people of Akrotiri and how something had caused them to leave before the Santorini eruption. But nobody really knew or had an explanation of where the Minoans could have gone, just that no remains of their bodies have ever been found.
June 8th, 2016: Today, NAU in Greece visited the moon…in a Fiat van. With my head out the window and my hair not-so-elegantly-wind blown, we had arrived to Vlychada beach. Upon arrival, my ears were overwhelmed by the sound of the waves gently picking up stones and dropping them and my eyes didn’t know whether to take in the deep blue of the ocean, or the rigid outline of distant islands, or the massive moon-like rock wall to the left of me. All of this pleasant thinking was quickly interrupted by a hefty gust of wind that dusted my eyes with a uninvited layer of ash. At that moment, I directed my interest to the origin of my pain: the moonscape.
I started out my day sweating more than I would like, staring up at a large wall of rocks. It was weird because I never thought I would be doing that, let alone in Santorini. The sun was sweltering hot, sweat was dripping from every part of my body, and I could feel the stinging of my burning skin. Against my instinct I turned my body away from the beautiful crystal blue water crashing against the rocks under my feet. I sat uncomfortably with my feet and legs falling asleep on the hot rocks. We were learning about part of phase 4 of the Minoan eruption at Cape Mavropetra.
This week, we drew countless outcrops of rocks, ate a concerning amount of gyros, and were lucky enough to tour the ancient city of Akrotiri. Akrotiri is a Minoan metropolis destroyed, yet perfectly preserved, by the most recent caldera eruption. Much like Pompeii, the whole city was engulfed in smoldering ash and pumice, leaving it exactly the way it was over 3600 years ago. But how do we know when these prehistoric events occurred when calendar years were not recorded, let alone conceptualized? The answer is radiocarbon dating.
Walking into a room full of ancient artifacts with no knowledge of why they’re in front of my face or what they’re about, I look up and see this fresco with bright, sky-blue daisies on top of a scarlet-maroon base. The colors were slightly faded but you could see that there was more to the painting than what was presented. I was so captivated by this piece of art, all I wanted to do was stare at it. I was curious to see if any other pieces would stand out to me, so I continued to walk around looking at the different paintings and reading up on the history of them. The paintings were filled with creativity and a sense of life. I was able to take a step into the city of Ancient Akrotiri.
In most horror films there is a warning scene right before everything goes down hill. You sit on the edge of your seat and shout at the group not to go into the basement for there is disaster lurking below. However, it is the characters’ decision whether to investigate the noise or get out as fast a possible. In the case of the Minoan eruption the earthquakes and phase 0 are the warning scene. In most horror or thriller films the main character walks toward the impending threat. However this is not the fate for the Minoans, or so we believe.