To The Moon, Pyroclastic Flows & Beyond!

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.

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Missing Pieces

When I woke up on Wednesday morning, I was mentally preparing for a grueling day in the hot Santorini sun. Sweating sunscreen into my eyes while frantically scribbling notes every time Lisa spoke was the usual. Nonetheless it was exciting to spend every day in the field learning new things. Today we would be learning how to draw an outcrop sketch, which shows a section of stratigraphy in painstaking detail. Continue reading “Missing Pieces”

Look Closely: Every Layer is an Event

Layer upon layer of history, tragedy, and misfortune built up every wall that ascended as we hiked deeper into Cape Plaka on Friday (3 June). Each wall, exposed and vulnerable, waits for someone to hear the stories inscribed in every grain. As I gaze up at the colossal remnants of the countless catastrophes that took place here, I am no longer in my body. I can see history being made before my eyes, eruption after eruption, construction and erosion, life and death. Every layer is an event. I feel my feet slip on the loose rock beneath me and I snap back to 2016. Continue reading “Look Closely: Every Layer is an Event”

The Grand Finale 

During my time here in Santorini I have done a lot of thinking. Thinking about life, volcanoes, and most of all trying to wrap my head around the earth that I am standing on. I have found a spot of my own here, it is off a beaten path, where no one goes and it has incredible view of the Kameni shield volcanoes. I have sat there for hours just trying to imagine the transitions and the magnificent power behind the construction of Santorini. There were many processes and five phases that have contributed to building this beautiful island, but the final phase, also known as phase four, and the phase I will be focusing on in this paper was catastrophic, the exit of this eruption was nothing short of grand.

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Evolution of the Santorini Volcano

Imagine being on the island of Santorini around the time of 1613 BC. Before the power of the Minoan eruption altered the landscape forever, you would be able to see this unstable volcanic vent surrounded by a landscape that had been reworked many times before by the forces of volcanism. As you look across the island you would be surrounded by the destructive beauty of hundreds of thousands of years of volcanic activity. You might feel safe and comforted because the last eruption was over 17,000 years ago. Although this time it is different, and there is a feeling that something may change, something may occur that will truly shape the island for the future. It is only a matter of time before this volcano begins to roar again, and present Santorini with an eruption that has never been seen within the Aegean Sea or the Mediterranean for that matter.

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Defcon 0

You know how sometimes people will refer to a serious or dire situation as Defcon 5, or even 6 if they’re really dramatic? Well recently when I was watching the 1983 film War Games, I learned that Defcon 5 is actually the least severe alert and Defcon 1 is the most. For the Minoans, phase 0 would have been Defcon 0. Now I’m being dramatic, but not that much because phase 0, amongst a few other signs, warned the Minoans that if they did not leave Ancient Akroteri they would all perish in the massive explosion of the caldera.

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A Geologic Lesson for the Little Ones

Sharing one’s knowledge with others is one of the greatest gifts that anyone can give. Being a young, aspiring teacher, I especially advocate this idea. The whole reason why my group and I are on this incredible journey in Santorini is to come back to the United States and share our geologic knowledge of what we have all learned and discovered about the Minoan eruption of Santorini that occurred thousands of years ago.
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