When I was thirteen I visited the coastal Alaskan town of Yakutat for a photography trip with my dad. On the beach there were signs to look out for wash up items on the beach from the 2011 Japan tsunami, some of the items included dolls, soccer balls and a lot of trash. I was shocked to see these items on a beach in Alaska when the tsunami occurred over 4000 miles away. This was my first and only experience with a tsunami. Six years later I came here to Greece and learned about the tsunami from the Minoan eruption and my curiosity was piqued again.
I always find myself trailing behind the rest of the class, whether this be on hikes or walks to get gelato. I can’t help but be intrigued with everything I see… On the hike to the town of Oia, I gaze up and see the other ten of my classmates scribbling in their notebooks. Some students are frantically writing down everything my professor says, others are writing while carrying on side conversations about what they see. As for me, I step back and peer around the rim of the caldera. It wasn’t until this moment when I thought, “When will there be another volcanic eruption in Santorini?”
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.
Now that we have looked at some rocks in the area, and have studied the Minoan eruption, what comes next? What lies ahead for Santorini? The past two days our class has had the pleasure of learning from a very well known geologist, who came and spent time with our class. His name was Dr. Georges vougioukalakis, yesterday he pointed out different formations in the cliffs of the caldera wall we were passing as we road by on a boat. He walked us through the different stages of the eruption and the construction of this island in its pieces. Then he proceeded to tell us about how they monitor the volcano now and, what to expect in the years to come regarding the Santorini caldera volcano and its future. I found the way he was able to calculate his estimations for the eruptions to come fascinating. Using small computers, and big equations, he was able to forecast the future. Continue reading The Future of Santorini
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.
Volcanic explosions are one of nature’s most extreme displays of power. A common and devastating result of volcanic eruptions is the fast movement of hot gas and rock that flows away from the volcano. The Greeks called them πῦρκλαστός (pronounced pyr klastós) which loosely translates to ‘broken fire’. Nuée ardente is another name used to describe these events which is French for ‘burning cloud’. In the science world today, they are referred to as pyroclastic flows.