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

A Simple and Easy Math Problem

On June 13th we returned to the Cape Akrotiri lighthouse where we first looked at the domes that formed the Akrotiri peninsula. This time, Lisa wanted to show us the most massive block she’s ever seen. A block is a solidified rock that is thrown up into the air during an eruption, and can be any shape. This blocks shape was gigantic. 

We walked down the slope behind the Akrotiri lighthouse. Lisa pointed out the thin layer of pumice from Phase 1 of the eruption which consisted of pumice fall. On top of Phase 1 was the white lapilli and ash beds of Phase 2 that were deposited as a result of pyroclastic surges. Pyroclastic surges are turbulent clouds of ash and lapilli and lithic fragments that tumble across the landscape outward from the vent depositing the material according to density. Lithic fragments are usually deposited together in a pyroclastic surge because of their density. The giant block Lisa brought us down there to see was obviously too large to be carried by a pyroclastic surge. It wasn’t even close to the size of the lithic fragments carried by the surge. So how did it get there? 

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How it’s Made: The Formation of Santorini

As we arrived in Santorini, I wondered how this island was created. How did this island become this unique and geologically complex crescent shape? So, as a person who needs their questions answered, I investigated this topic, and the results were more than satisfying. From just a few limestone and metamorphic hills to massive caldera-forming eruptions, Santorini definitely had a more complex history than I … Continue reading How it’s Made: The Formation of Santorini

The Complex History of Santorini’s Early Caldera Complex

The Peresteria composite cone once stood high on the horizon of the Aegean. It was a prominent feature on the landscape and graced the stratosphere with its peak. Peresteria was the first subaerial volcanic feature to appear in the northern part of Thera on a major fault system known as the Colombo Line. Since its construction, it has been blown up by four caldera forming eruptions, and covered by numerous lava flows. In its exposed interior, Peresteria shows the geologic history of the island and holds the key to Santorini’s complex past. 
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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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The beginning, middle, and no end in sight.

Our first day of class on Santorini was nerve wracking for me. I had no clue what information Professor Skinner would be telling us, how fast paced the class would be, or what knowledge I would have to remember from when I took Geologic Disasters two semesters ago. It helped to see that everyone was in the same position I was in, all nerves with a slight bit of excitement for the unknown information.

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Living in the Walls of the Past

Why not create something beautiful out of a catastrophe? In Santorini, it is easy to find many structures built out of the destruction from the Minoan eruption. I have personally witnessed some of the techniques employed to create these domiciles. Through the build up of pumice and ash as results of the volcanic eruption, inhabitants of the island have taken advantage of what they have been given.
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Akrotiri; Doomed for Destruction, but When?

The ancient Minoan city of Akrotiri was an outpost of Crete, and existed on an active caldera. Inevitably the massive volcano erupted causing worldwide effects. China experienced extreme climate change, and pumice was found in places as far away as the Nile and Israel. The effects on the volcanic island were incredibly powerful, and completely buried Akrotiri in copious amounts of ash. Today the ash and pumice on Santorini is measured to be 60 meters at its thickest, and led to the island being uninhabited for approximately 200 years following the eruption (1).

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