Thousands of people mill around on the beautiful volcanic island of Santorini every day having little knowledge of the amazing geologic history that passes under their feet. The island is ever changing and is constantly forged then reforged by the liquified rocks churning beneath the sea. There are still those that know about the volcanism that has created the island you see today but fewer know of the true volcanic origins for this paradise.
Volcanic gases are widely understood to be one of the more dangerous aspects of active volcanoes. Where they can certainly be hazardous to your health or even deadly, the volcanic gases also have a more positive side that never seems to get enough light. Hot springs pop up all around the world near active volcanoes, and gases emitted by volcanic vents provide useful scientific opportunities. Such opportunities should be taken, though cautiously, because these gases don’t have a bad reputation for no reason.
Going to Santorini and staying near the cliffside of the caldera rim results in a special experience of the volcano. Each time I look out at the ocean, the new volcano in the center of the caldera is the central point to the most spectacular view I have ever seen. As a budding young geologist, I am in awe of how close I am to an active resurgent shield amidst a volcanic complex with such a rich history. I am excited to not only learn about the history but to track the emergence and construction of Santorini’s new volcanic field.