I’ve just learned the full story of the Minoan eruption. In my mind, I’m imagining 60 cubic kilometers of earth. This is about the size of a block of the Los Angeles basin, by volume; a massive amount of land. I can see all this land being ejected by the volcano miles into the sky, over a span of 24 hours. Such is the case of Santorini’s last caldera forming eruption. Continue reading “Moving Megatons: The Excavational Eruptions of Calderas”
As I walk the streets of Fira, Santorini and swim through the waves of tourists I see that most of them look out towards the center of the caldera. To them this island has always looked this way. Many know that around 1613 BC there was a cataclysmic eruption that forms the present day caldera and was a leading factor to the end of the Minoan civilization. Although they understand this, they do not realize that three cataclysmic caldera forming eruptions preceded the Minoan eruption and that even in the thousands of years in between each eruption the geography was constantly changing and morphing through volcanism and erosion into new shapes. As our class hiked around Thera, I saw before my eyes the different parts of this complex past that make it the paradise that it is today.
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.