Under the Sea Darling its Better!

As a child, the lost city of Atlantis fascinated me. How could an entire empire just vanish in the blink of an eye without a trace? Before coming to Santorini my teacher sent out an article on Facebook about the possibility of Atlantis be in Santorini. After reading and talking to Lisa it was clear that there is real geological evidence for Atlantis being in Santorini. Plato states in Critias and Timaeus

”…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 …the sea in those parts is impassable and impenetrable, because there is a shoal of mud.” [1]

in like manner disappeared into the sea” [1]

When the Minoan eruption occurred in 1613 BC + 13 years (cite Friedrich et al. 2006), it would have had many earthquakes and landslides in the caldera as it collapsed.

 “violent earthquakes and floods” [1]

Minoan ash on Crete and Turkey, suggests the caldera collapse that produced a tsunami during the eruption.

 “shoal of mud” [1]

There would have also been pumice fall from Phase 1 of the eruption floating in the ocean creating pumice rafts that would have been impassible. Plato also states

“…and he made circular belts of sea and land enclosing one another alternately. Some greater, some smaller, two being of land and three of sea, which he carved as it were out of the midst of the island.” [1]

Fig.1 This is a diagram of a Nested Caldera. There is an overview and a sideview of what it would look like.

A Nested caldera is a geological process where there is multiple caldera collapses over time creating a bullseye shaped island. Santorini has experienced 4-caldera explosions over time, the one before the Minoan eruption being 21 thousand years ago. The centerpiece of the bullseye is a new volcano in geological timing that we know erupted in ancient times.[Fig.1]

…the stone they quarried beneath the central island all round, and from beneath the outer and inner circles, some of it being white, some black and some red.” [1]

Fig.2 These rocks are from Cape Movropetra and all were ejected from the vent of the volcano. There is obsidian, Andesite, Scoria, conglomerate and limestone.

When Plato talks about Atlantis he talks about red, white and black rocks as well as cool and warm springs. At Cape Movropetra on Santorini I found many different kinds of rocks that were ejected from the vent of the volcano during phase 4 of the eruption ( For more information on Phase 4 see The Grand Finally by: Gracie Timmerman) a few being gray and block andesite, red scoria, black obsidian and white limestone.[Fig.2] Each beach we have been to have been a different color resulting from the wide variety of volcanic rocks found here. There are also may hot springs in Santorini next week our group will be swimming in two just on the coast of Nea Kameni.[Fig.3]

Fig.3 This is a map image of Santorini the orange point is my current location and the red points are the two hot springs well be swimming in next week.

The final line of evidence, and the one I think is most convincing, is where Plato states “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” [1] he means it quite literally. Geologists have postulated that the Minoan eruption and all its phases happened likely occurred within 24 hours.. Many people try to diminish the reality of Atlantis to mere legend even though Plato states repeatedly that the story is not invented but based on fact. The Atlantis Plato describes bears a high resemblance to the pre-Minoan Santorini. All the description he says about the disappearance of Atlantis sounds like the different phases of the Minoan eruption the earthquakes and floods would have accompanied the final stages of the Minoan eruption; and the rocks that can be found all over the island match the ones Plato describes. The islands shape itself matches Plato’s description. Atlantis even disappeared in the same amount of time as the Minoan eruption     Friedrich, Walter L. Santorini. Denmark: Aarhus University Press, 2009. Print [1]


5 thoughts on “Under the Sea Darling its Better!”

  1. Sounds like a very likely location for the mythological city of Atlantis. How soon after the Minoan eruption did Plato write about “Atlantis”? Could Atlantis have been related to other eruptions nearby instead?

  2. Hi Mykayla.
    I really enjoy the interesting (and mythical) notion of pinpointing the location of the fabled city of Atlantis. Your post is a focused topic that conveys the possibility of Atlantis while utilizing geological and historical / cultural support.
    It was intriguing to read accounts of Plato as the support to such a claim as the existence and location of Atlantis. You’ve done a solid job utilizing your numerous support from quotes of Plato to the information concerning the variety of rocks detailed by Plato and the photos from the island.
    It was a pleasure to read such a well supported and intriguing post.

  3. Makayla,

    Nice post on the lost city of Atlantis. From he Disney movie and other cartoons, I have always thought that the Atlantis was an underwater city. The eruption would have completely blasted the city to pieces, but I wonder, given that Plato was right, if there are still Any underwater city ruins. It’s cool how our blog is named after Plato’s work.

  4. Mykayla, You have addressed each line of geological evidence for the hypothesis that Atlantis was located on the island of Santorini – good. I would have like to see you expand on those lines of evidence to show how much more you know about each one. For example, what is caldera collapse and how would it have caused a city to sink? How does caldera collapse create tsunami? Why do geologists think the eruption occurred in 24 hours?

    For your next post, try to develop your ideas a little more. You’ve got a keen intuition for geological processes (which is why I want you to be a geology major!). Try to convey fully this knowledge to the reader for your last post.

    paragraph 6 last line – correct ‘cost’ to ‘coast’
    paragraph 7 line 4 – correct ‘quit’ to ‘quite’

  5. Hi Mykayla,

    This was an interesting read and as the post progressed I found myself wanting more, because I had never heard of this explanation of Atlantis. I found your quotes from Plato to be really well placed and they were intriguing coupled with your explanation of what could have happened to inspire such a story.

    As the quote from Plato paired with your scientific explanation are the most important points you make (and because they’re super interesting and readers are greedy) I think you should expand and further explain some of your ideas. What would be fascinating to read would be your own personal observations that reinforce your scientific explanations of Plato’s story. An area in which you could expand your evidence by providing your own observations is after you quote Plato about the earthquakes and floods. The one sentence you have there offers some interesting evidence, but it’s all alone and could use some support. So what other evidence of flooding and earthquakes is there, and can you actually observe any of this personally. A great part of this blog is that you are at the site, so you can learn more than someone who only has a book to research from. What you want to do is offer information that is unique to your experience, even if it’s just personal ideas based on observations.

    Looking forward to reading future posts.

    Justin Kanzler

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