There is some rather disturbing news out of Greece right now, and no, it is not economic in nature. It appears that the volcanic island of Santorini is building up to its first eruption in more than sixty years. This is not good news at all.
According to Georgia Tech associate professor Andrew Newman, who set up the more than 20 GPS stations monitoring the island, “After decades of little activity, a series of earthquakes and deformation began within the Santorini caldera in January of 2011. Since then, our instruments on the northern part of the island have moved laterally between five and nine centimeters. The volcano’s magma chamber is filling, and we are keeping a close eye on its activity.”
Alright, but why is this disturbing?
Santorini is the location of the volcano Thera, and for those who do not know that name, this volcano once erupted in such a manner as to be roughly four times worse than Krakatoa, which occurred in 1883. The last time that a volcano erupted with as much force as Thera did back in roughly 1500BCE was Tambora back in 1815.
The eruption was so bad that the after effects may have even been recorded in China, and it is thought to have been responsible for the obliteration of the Minoan civilization, the disruption of the budding Greek culture and the temporary derailing of the Egyptian civilization. The eruption likely caused a lot of disruptions to the nearby cultures, in fact.
According to Newman, any eruption is likely to be worse than anything that has occurred there in the last 450 years. He stated “That could be dangerous. If the caldera erupts underwater, it could cause local tsunamis and affect boat traffic, including cruise ships, in the caldera. Earthquakes could damage homes and produce landslides along the cliffs.”
Still, Newman notes that the current magma build up is far less than that of the famous eruption three and a half millennia ago.