Category Archives: Plate Tectonics

The tectonics of Santorini, the Cyclades, and the Aegean Sea

Basement Rocks at the Ceiling: The Story of Mesa Vouno

I’m standing at the bottom of a 369 meter tall mountain, ready to walk up a 30% gradient trail (That’s approximately 1,210 feet for all you non-metric people). The trailhead (Figure A) looks inviting yet slightly menacing. The sun is beating down on me and its a long walk up. Mesa Vouno rises up like a god amongst kings in this island paradise. How did a (nonvolcanic) mountain end up as a part of this caldera island?

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Shake what Mama Earth Gave You

This week, the class took a 6 hour trip around the archipelago to hike the still active Nea Kameni volcano and observe the caldera rim up close. Also known as “Boat Day”, it was the climax of our 3 week visit to Santorini. I had never been on a small boat before, therefore I had no idea of how to move around the very turbulent vessel, nor whether I’m prone to sea sickness or not. Thankfully I gained my sea legs and enjoyed the excursion like it was an amusement park ride. The way the boat swayed under my feet and the balance I had to struggle to find reminded me of being in an earthquake. Continue reading Shake what Mama Earth Gave You

What lies beneath the Acropolis?

Growing up as the oddball of the family, I found comfort in reading.. reading and learning about history. The things of the past and how they differentiate from how things are today. On the very first day we spent in Athens, we walked up the three thousand year old pathway to the Acropolis, the very same pathway that the Athenians of Classical Greece took. At first glance I saw this piece of history, from the marble columns to the Porch of Maidens and I was amazed that people of the past without the technology that we have today built these things with such precise and critical thinking.

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The Clashing of Giants

I grew up in Anchorage, Alaska and have experienced my fair share of earthquakes. I remember when I was ten years old and I woke up to my bed moving back and forth. I thought my brother was playing a prank on me, but I quickly understood that this was not due to human hands. I was scared of course, but I was also curious about why the ground was moving so violently.  Continue reading The Clashing of Giants

Tectonism in the Aegean

As I began the hike to Ancient Thera, I saw before me an immense mountain of metamorphic and sedimentary rocks. Due to the rocks being millions of years old, I felt as if every step I took was another leap back in time and a look into the origins of Santorini. The tectonic setting in the Aegean Sea is rare due to the several processes that are constantly in motion. A subduction zone, normal faults, and a transform plate boundary come together to make a unique geologic setting.

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Santorini Isn’t Alone

Just a couple months ago, I had no idea that the sea of Greece was home to a caldera much like the ones that I learned about in my introductory geology course the first semester of my time at Northern Arizona University. I have realized that many of the geological processes in the world have been left in the shadows and ignored. Traveling across the Atlantic ocean to Santorini, I have began to broaden my understanding of the forces of earth in this part of the world. As inspiration goes, I have been drawn further in my curiosity to wonder: Is Santorini, the floating volcano in the Aegean Sea, not alone?

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