Caldera (1A)

Santorini is a truly unique island. Its unique geological setting gives it a spectacular, wild and unique beauty, which makes it one of the most beautiful Greek islands and one of Europe's main tourist destinations. 

If you had a bird's-eye view of Santorini, you'd see that the island is crescent in shape, a result of the enormous volcanic explosion that occurred between 1627 and 1628 BC. But... What really happened?

Thousands of years ago, Santorini was a circular island formed as a result of intense volcanic activity in the region. 

On one hand, the legend of the disappearance of Atlantis is directly related to a colossal explosion that gave Santorini its current shape. Is it true? Another legend tells of the rebellion of the giants against Zeus. There was a great eruption and the sky went completely dark, since Helios (the Sun) and Selene (the Moon) were prohibited from shining for several days. As a result, the giants were burned by the gods and turned into several islands.

But the more scientific explanation is that the Aegean Sea is located in the place where the African and Eurasian continental plates coincide, so this area is particularly affected by seismic movements and volcanic activity.

Here in Santorini there was a natural disaster in the seventeenth century BC that changed everything: the volcano erupted. It was a very strong blast that had devastating consequences.

The gases that were compressed inside the crater exploded, releasing a huge amount of ash and pumice that covered everything for several days. In fact, the atmosphere darkened in much of the world and could even be seen in China.

The centre of the island collapsed, leaving a huge gap of about 800 metres, where there had been a mountain before. Suddenly a gap opened in the wall of this huge caldera, which let seawater in and led to a massive tsunami that devastated the entire Aegean coast. It is thought that the giant wave was at least 200 metres in height and 70 metres in length and reached the Cretan coast. Therefore, many link this cataclysm to the fall of the Minoan civilisation that flourished in Crete from 3000 BC.

As mentioned above, the volcanic eruption led to the formation of the current caldera. It is a unique place that houses a number of small islands.

Oval in shape, it is surrounded on three sides by steep rocky cliffs that reach heights of up to 300 metres. On the fourth side is the small island of Therasia, which separates the caldera from the Aegean Sea. 

The caldera measures 12 by seven kilometres and is 400 metres deep at the most central point. This makes it easy for boats to tour the islands and visitors to get close to the intense beauty of this place and all the islands in it. If you get a chance, we recommend you visit them.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that Santorini is one of five volcanoes chosen by the European Union as the focus of a project to study volcanic phenomena. The volcano is still active and is included in the Decade Volcanoes list, an international project that researches volcanic hazards.

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