New evidence on tsunamis after huge Santorini volcanic eruption

Α Decrease font Enlarge font
New evidence on tsunamis after huge Santorini volcanic eruptionNew evidence discovered by Greek scientists concerning the cataclysmic volcanic eruption on the island of Santorini 3,600 years ago suggests a new narrative for the disaster

New evidence discovered by Greek scientists concerning the cataclysmic volcanic eruption on the island of Santorini 3,600 years ago suggests a new narrative for the disaster that crippled the Bronze Age civilisations that had thrived in the prehistoric Aegean for more than 2,000 years.

Scientists had previously believed that the nine-metre tsunamis that smashed into the shores of Crete, dealing a severe blow to the Minoans that had dominated the region until that time, were caused by the collapse of the island's caldera, or volcanic crater, created during an eruption that blasted 80 cubic kilometres of rock into the ocean. 

Geologist-Oceanographer Dr. Paraskevi Nomikou and her colleagues from Athens University's Geology and Geo-Environment Department have now suggested an entirely different time line for these tsunamis, based on new seismic and ocean floor data, combined with modelling. According to their theory, published in Nature Communications, the tsunamis were the result of 'pyroclastic flow' - the hot ash, rock and lava that was spewed into the ocean before the crater's collapse.

The new data from their study seems to indicate that the caldera was not open to the sea during the main phase of the volcanic eruption but flooded afterwards, when the eruption was over. The Greek scientists have discovered a submarine channel measuring one kilometre across and three kilometres in length that links the caldera with the sea. They said that this was initially blocked by ash and other material from the explosion, acting like a dam. This subsequently gave way and filled the previously dry bed of the caldera with sea water in less than two days, or possibly even hours.

Talking to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA), Dr. Nomikou said that scientists have been studying the morphology of the Santorini volcano for years to discover which sections sank and which remained on the surface after it erupted.

"The new study shows us that there was a channel between Oia and Thirasia that was filled in by the explosion, so that the main caldera collapsed without causing a tsunami. Afterward, when the dam in the channel between Oia and Thirasia broke, sea water entered the caldera in two days at the most.

"Something like this, however, did not cause a tsunami. This was caused because, during the third and fourth phase of the eruption, huge quantities of volcanic ash were blown up into the air, and pyroclastic flows then entered the sea. These were what caused the tsunami that affected northern Crete and all the eastern Mediterranean," she said.

Deposits of pyroclastic material

While the main eruption was in full swing, the Greek scientists suggest, there may have been little of no water inside the crater, which was cut off from the surrounding sea. They believe that a shallow caldera may have already existed in the north section of the island's volcanic field, created by a previous eruption 18,000 years ago. The major volcanic eruption in 1610 B.C. then made this more ancient caldera deeper and wider until it was flooded with water. 

In support of this theory, researchers have found deposits of pyroclastic material up to 60 metres thick on the seabed around the shores of Santorini, in quantities sufficient to cause a tsunami-like wave. This also agrees with later studies on the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883, which identified pyroclastic flows as the culprit for the tsunami generated at that time.

Scientists estimate that the eruption of Santorini took place at around 1610 B.C. - give or take 15 years -and was probably one of the largest the world has seen for the last 10,000 years. According to Nomikou, however, it was not responsible for wiping out Minoan civilisation as popularly supposed. She pointed out that Crete's Minoan civilisation managed to survive for almost two centuries after the tsunami hit - until roughly 1450 B.C. - and finally collapsed due to endogenous causes, though it was made more vulnerable.

Working with Nomikou on the Greek study were Dr. Dimitris Papanikolaou and Danae Lambridou, along with other scientists from France, Britain, Germany, the United States and Iceland.

The original paper is available at the address: nature.com/articles/doi:10.1038/NCOMMS13332.

Read more here.

RELATED TOPICS: GreeceGreek tourism newsTourism in GreeceGreek islandsHotels in GreeceTravel to GreeceGreek destinations Greek travel marketGreek tourism statisticsGreek tourism report


Tornos
  1. 24/10 20:06

    Pope Francis announces visit to Greece and Cyprus during first weekend of December

  2. 24/10 19:47

    Greece records 2,098 new Covid-19 infections and 30 fatalities on Sunday

  3. 24/10 17:56

    Media report: Greece pays deadly price for lifting pandemic restrictions

  4. 24/10 16:16

    Greek FM to co-sign bilateral cooperation agreement with his British counterpart

  5. 24/10 15:07

    Navarino Challenge event boosting Greek classic sports from Tsiklitiras to Tentoglou

  6. 22/10 19:22

    SNF supports Merchant Navy Academy on the Greek island of Hydra (video)

  7. 22/10 19:01

    German Chancellor Merkel to visit Greek capital of Athens on October 28-29

  8. 22/10 18:49

    Over 8.6 million tourists visited Greece in January-August 2021

  9. 22/10 18:27

    Italian Fincantieri expresses interest in restructuring of Elefsis Shipyards in Greece

  10. 22/10 17:02

    International Air Transport Association announces winner of 2021 FACE-UP competition

  11. 22/10 16:11

    Media report: Consulate General of Greece in Chicago on a new course

  12. 22/10 16:06

    New extension of Greek notam for passengers from abroad to October 29

  13. 22/10 11:32

    Greek Tech Talks return in person in New York on November 10

  14. 22/10 09:44

    International Air Transport Association adds ‘Quote and Book’ function to its net rates

  15. 21/10 19:39

    Cyprus promoted by expert as a regional research and innovation hub in Dubai

  16. 21/10 19:34

    Cyprus and India reaffirm potential for further cooperation on tourism sector

  17. 21/10 19:02

    Cyprus Deputy Ministry of Tourism updated the website delightfulcyprus

  18. 21/10 16:11

    Inner city traffic restrictions to return in downtown Athens from Monday

  19. 21/10 16:03

    Application deadline for Drexel University Spring Break in Greece set on November 11

  20. 21/10 15:43

    Minister: In a few years we will have digitised the whole Greek state

  21. 21/10 15:18

    Finance Minister: Greek economy on course for a strong and dynamic recovery

  22. 21/10 14:44

    Athens University partners with Yale to promote environmental science and public health

  23. 21/10 14:23

    Bank of Greece: Travel receipts reached 50% of 2019 levels during January-August 2021

  24. 21/10 14:13

    Navarino Challenge promoting Greek classic sports for 9 consecutive years

  25. 21/10 11:14

    Cyprus plans to restore pandemic-hit tourism sector

  26. 20/10 21:10

    UNWTO, WTTC & WTM Tourism Ministers' Summit commits to investing in sector's sustainable future

  27. 20/10 20:43

    Greece and Oman sign two deals during Foreign Minister's visit to Muscat

  28. 20/10 20:28

    Greeks of the Diaspora can begin resistering in electoral lists online

  29. 20/10 19:36

    Top health professor announces COVID-19 vaccines saved 8,400 lives in Greece

  30. 20/10 19:07

    Greece records 3,279 new Covid-19 infections and 38 fatalities on Wednesday

  31. 20/10 18:54

    International Air Transport Association statement on Korea Fair Trade Commission

  32. 20/10 18:24

    Finance Minister: Green and digital transition to revamp economy in Cyprus island

  33. 20/10 16:03

    Tourist arrivals in Cyprus soar by 153.7% annually during first nine months of 2021

  34. 20/10 15:58

    EU Commissioner: Greece a pioneer in tabling and approval of Covid recovery programmes

  35. 20/10 14:18

    Health Minister: Private hospitals may also be asked to take Covid cases if needed

  36. 19/10 20:16

    Greece records 3,739 new Covid-19 infections and 29 fatalities on Tuesday

  37. 19/10 19:39

    Averoff Museum in Northern Greek city of Metsovo opens accessible building

  38. 19/10 18:59

    Geological report: Colossus of the Naxians on Delos marble source identified

  39. 19/10 17:47

    Farpoint, new “Med Noir” crime drama series set in Cyprus

  40. 19/10 16:52

    Greek Foreign Minister will visit Oman to sign agreement on visa waiver

  41. 19/10 13:21

    Greek passport requirements upgrade under review by Council of State top court

  42. 19/10 12:33

    Amadeus: 77% of travelers want to travel in the next year with Europe reigning as top destination

  43. 19/10 12:13

    Cyprus Central Bank reports slowdown in the price of houses as apartment prices go up

  44. 19/10 11:08

    AP from Athens: Greece vows to link Egypt's energy grid to European Union

  45. 19/10 09:06

    6.1R earthquake rocks the Greek island of Karpathos in the Dodecanese

  46. 18/10 19:25

    Aristotle Thessaloniki University students organize big coronavirus party

  47. 18/10 19:22

    Greece confirms 3,164 new Covid-19 infections and 43 fatalities on Monday

  48. 18/10 19:14

    Greek government won’t extend mandatory COVID-19 vaccine shots yet

  49. 18/10 17:54

    Media report: Unrelenting COVID-19 deaths keep worry alert high in Greece

  50. 18/10 15:57

    Art Athina returns both digitally and in-person on November 1

  51. 18/10 12:54

    Greek Prime Minister: Dealing with the pandemic is a government priority

  52. 18/10 10:01

    Greek revolutionary hero comes to life in Opera Markos Botsaris in Athens

  53. 18/10 10:01

    Greek revolutionary hero comes to life in Opera Markos Botsaris in Athens

  54. 17/10 22:07

    Irish Embassy commemorates Oscar Wilde's birthday with Athens photo in costume

  55. 17/10 21:43

    National Theater costumes exhibit at Syntagma metro station ends on October 18

  56. 17/10 19:47

    Greece records 1,712 new Covid-19 cases and 27 fatalities on Sunday

  57. 17/10 17:54

    AHI Virtual Speaker Forum Commemorates Greece's OXI Day on October 28

  58. 17/10 15:58

    AP: Beijing flame-lighting rehearsal at Ancient Olympia of Greece

  59. 17/10 13:41

    Linking Greek islands to mainland power grid will save €4.5 billion euros between 2020-2030

  60. 16/10 21:51

    Cisco digital transformation center inaugurated in Greek city of Thessaloniki

  61. 15/10 19:43

    UCLA SNF Hellenic Center Lecture on Sanctuary of Asclepius at Epidaurus on October 16

  62. 15/10 19:40

    Greece recorded 2,665 new Covid-19 infections and 27 fatalities on Friday

  63. 15/10 19:25

    HRADF receives four offers for Gournes beachfront property in Crete

  64. 15/10 18:37

    Cyprus government presents new strategy for attracting firms in the country

  65. 15/10 17:33

    United States of America welcomes Greece's role as regional leader

  66. 15/10 17:15

    AP: US to end travel rules for vaccinated on November 8

  67. 15/10 15:46

    Hellenic Statistical Authority : Greek economy shrank by 9.0% in 2020

  68. 15/10 15:29

    International Air Transport Association legal challenge to urgently block Dutch Slot Rule

  69. 15/10 13:53

    AP: India reopens for foreign tourists as Covid-19 infections recede

  70. 15/10 10:09

    Yale to explore health benefits of Greek organic table olives

  71. 14/10 21:18

    Greece records 2,601 new Covid-19 infections and 46 fatalities on Thursday

  72. 14/10 19:55

    Passenger traffic in Greek airports soars 62.35% in first nine months

  73. 14/10 19:42

    Greek olive oils sweep top awards at JOOP in Tokyo

  74. 14/10 19:41

    Heavy rainstorm rages on in Greece

  75. 14/10 17:01

    Number of visitors to Greek Museums skyrockets 1,009.8% during June 2021

  76. 14/10 16:30

    Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church organizes Drive-Thru Only Festival on October 14-17

  77. 14/10 16:21

    American Hellenic Institute's Golf Tournament takes place on October 18

  78. 14/10 15:51

    Minister: Tourist inflow in the winter season through scheduled flights to Cyprus

  79. 14/10 14:08

    IATA: Simple testing, affordability and sustainability keys to restoring UK aviation

  80. 14/10 12:37

    First snow fall in mountainous areas of Western Macedonia in Greece

  81. 13/10 13:30

    IATA calls for re-opening borders with simplified risk management

  82. 13/10 13:23

    Series of Marathon races organized across the Peloponnese within 10 days

  83. 13/10 12:23

    Greece's Island and Shipping Minister visiting Crete after 6.3R earthquake

  84. 13/10 12:20

    AHEPA District 6 Family organizes virtual conference for Fall 2021

  85. 13/10 09:59

    Greece and Egypt to sign electricity interconnection agreement

  86. 13/10 09:54

    CEIV Lithium Battery Certification Program launched for aviation industry

  87. 12/10 19:48

    Greece records 3,065 new Covid-19 infections and 32 fatalities on Tuesday

  88. 12/10 19:18

    IMF report: Greek economy forecast to grow by 6.5% during 2021

  89. 12/10 19:04

    Greece records 3,065 new Covid-19 infections and 32 fatalities on Tuesday

  90. 12/10 16:14

    Greek Prime Minister: Pfizer's centre in Thessaloniki a milestone investment

  91. 12/10 14:56

    Minister: Τourist season in Greece actively underway

  92. 12/10 14:15

    Head of a Roman-era statue discovered in the sea near Preveza in Greece

  93. 12/10 13:26

    New strong earthquake jolts the Greek island of Crete within two weeks

  94. 12/10 13:17

    Severe weather front "Ballos" moves toward Greece

  95. 12/10 11:10

    Navarino Challenge 2021: The Greek language unites through sports

  96. 11/10 19:49

    Greece: Fire-hit Evia island races to fix damage before next storm (video)

  97. 11/10 18:56

    Celestyal Cruises returns to year-round cruising and adds Thessaloniki port to itinerary

  98. 11/10 16:12

    Alternate Foreign Minister: US presence deepening in crucial Greek areas

  99. 11/10 16:05

    Hellenic Heritage Foundation donation highlights Greek Diaspora history in Canada

  100. 11/10 15:40

    AP: Greece boosts border guards and demands tougher EU action