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?

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

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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The Angle of Regret: Unpredictable and Unforgiving Landslides of Santorini

Living on a volcano has both its advantages and disadvantages. On the sheer cliffs of the caldera rim, hundreds of meters above the ocean, one experiences the breath taking views of Santorini and the vastness of the deep blue Mediterranean Sea. The vibrant sunsets, lively culture, and white structured churches and villas built into the edge of the caldera rim are just a few of the treasures that set this island apart from any other. Santorini is one of the most active volcanoes in the Mediterranean region and is responsible for Thera’s striking sheer cliff faces of the caldera rim. However, with all of its beauty there lies an unpredictable hazard that could give way at any time, landslides.

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My Geologic Adventure to Oια

 

June 6, 2018

Dear Diary,

Today we went on an amazing hike from the base of Peresteria volcano to the city of Οια (ee-Yah) in Santorini, Greece to broaden our knowledge on volcanic formations. 

We arrived on the outskirts of Οια approximately at 11:03 a.m., which was early enough to experience a light breeze from the north. Personally, I was super tired from hike down to Cape Plaka yesterday. The hike was intense, the sun beat hard, and I got beat up by the ocean pretty bad. Sweat burned in the cuts and scratches on my leg and hand. Additionally, had I known that the hike would be so strenuous would have definitely worked out before flying over to Santorini. Honestly, someone should have warned a big girl like me. Despite all the stress of hiking the class came across some interesting formations along the way.  Keep Reading!

A Brief History of Bad Decisions

The island of Santorini has an extensive history of volatile seismic and volcanic activity. Aside from the four caldera eruptions that have decimated the entire island over the past 200 thousand years, Santorini seems to be a hot spot for smaller eruptions and large earthquakes. Despite this reputation, civilizations have been settling the land since the third millennium BCE (before common era), ignoring the obvious hazards that would later plague each of them. What do these messy histories entail and what did these peoples of the past see in this dangerous land to warrant them staying for generations?

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Earthquakes and Buildings: A Rocky Relationship

I never traveled outside of the United States before. Therefore, I was never thrown into another culture. When we arrived in Santorini, I remember asking myself why the buildings looked so different. I found out that those buildings were just in the process of being built! It intrigued me to find out more about the buildings here. Where I am from, you often see complex structures made of wood, then insulation and dry wall. Before you know it, the homes are built! Continue reading “Earthquakes and Buildings: A Rocky Relationship”

The Minoan Tsunami: Two Theories, Past and Present

When I was thirteen I visited the coastal Alaskan town of Yakutat for a photography trip with my dad. On the beach there were signs to look out for wash up items on the beach from the 2011 Japan tsunami, some of the items included dolls, soccer balls and a lot of trash. I was shocked to see these items on a beach in Alaska when the tsunami occurred over 4000 miles away. This was my first and only experience with a tsunami. Six years later I came here to Greece and learned about the tsunami from the Minoan eruption and my curiosity was piqued again. 

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