Explosive Tourism

Tickets! Tickets please!
Oh, hello there! Are you here for the geology tour of Santorini? I’ll be taking a group on a tour around the island to the see the active volcanic dome, the Akrotiri Archaeological site, different beaches created by volcanic events, and much more! It all starts here at Fira port and all you need is a tick-Ah! I see you’ve already got one. Perfect! Climb aboard my boat, the Gem of the Sea, and let the adventure begin! Continue reading “Explosive Tourism”

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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Pumice and Wine: A Tasty Mix

No matter your destination while you’re on Santorini, you’re bound to see at least one vineyard. Unless you know that Santorini is known for its wine, you might not be able to tell that these are grape plants at all. Due to the high winds on Santorini, the grape vines are grown using a technique called koulara. Koulara trains the grapes to grow in a circular fashion and stay low to the ground to avoid damage (1). The Minoan eruption, the most recent caldera forming eruption, deposited volcanic rocks, ash, and pumice all around the island of Santorini. Little did the violent volcano know that it would be providing Santorini with its distinct wine!

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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”

Up Close & Personal: Rock Edition

For the last week, I’ve been outside under the Santorini sun drawing and describing the post Minoan eruption stratigraphy of the island from different localities. I’ve been attempting to find answers to the history of the island’s geography through the rocks. And these rocks are so easily taken for granted, sitting while hundreds of tourists walk by unfazed by the stories they could tell. But that’s why I’m here. My purpose in coming to Santorini was to study the geology and write about what I learn. It’s my goal to share my knowledge and translate the more advanced topics of geology to layman’s terms so those reading can understand the work I’ve completed.

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Minoans Know Best

In the late Bronze Age the Minoans did not have the technology to monitor the caldera but evidence shows they left before the Minoan eruption of 1613 BC. As a class we visited the ancient Minoan city Akrotiri which is sometimes called the Greek Pompeii. The city has been preserved by the ash fall from the Minoan eruption there is clear evidence the Minoans left before the eruption. I want to know what caused them to leave and did they know that a major eruption was going to occur? Today scientists can monitor the volcanic activity of Nea Kameni but they can’t predict when a volcano will erupt or know if they should call for an evacuation.

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Subsidence: The Story of a Great and Wonderful Empire

“[…] 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.

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A Storm’s a Brewin’

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.

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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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