Santorini volcano eruptions

Caldera (complex stratovolcano) 329 m (on caldera rim) / 128 m (top of most recent lava shield, Nea Kameni)
Cyclades, Greece, 36.4°N / 25.4°E
Eruption list: 1613 BC +-7 years (the so-called "Minoan eruption", one of the largest plinian eruptions during the past 10,000 years on earth)
historic eruptions: 197 BC, 46/47 AD, 726, 1570-1573, 1707-1711, 1866-1870, 1925-1928, 1939-1941, 1950

1950 eruption

10. Jan. 1950 - 2. Feb. 1950: Small effusive activity ("Liatsikas" lavas) preceded by phreatic explosions.
More info

1939-41 eruption

20. Aug. 1939 - July 1941 -- Formation of several lava domes ("Tritona", "Ktenas", "Fouqué", "Smith-Reck" and "Niki"). Extrusive and slighly explosive activity. Lava outflow in most cases preceeded by phreatic explosions.
more info

1925-28 eruption

11. Aug. 1925- 17. March 1928 -- Moderate effusive and explosive activity. Growth of Nea Kameni. Lava flows, lava fountains and ash-falls.
- Aug. 1925 -- Rising temperature in the Red bay ("Kokkina Nera", gr. = red waters) at the eastern shore of Nea Kameni and subsidence of Nea Kameni's east shore. Vapor fountains and lava outflow.

1866-1870 eruption

4. Feb. 1866 - 15. Oct. 1870 -- Moderate effusive and minor explosive activity. Mikri and Nea Kameni unite. Lava flows, lava fountains and ash-falls.

1711 - 1866 activity

No volcanic activity occurred during 1711-1866. Mikri and Nea Kameni were 2 separated islands forming 2 natural bays (Georgios and Vulkano bay). Sulfuric fumaroles in Vulkano bay. Building of a small harbor and ca. 50 summerhouses (!) on Nea Kameni.

1707-1711 eruption: Nea Kameni appears

23. May 1707 - Sept. 1711 -- Formation of Nea Kameni (gr., = "the new burnt island"). Strong surtseyan and effusive activity. Ash-fall and gas explosions. Lowering of the coastline of Thera and Mikri Kameni.

1650 Kolumbo volcano eruption

27. Sept 1650 -- Kolumbo submarine volcano (ca. 8 km NE of Cape Kolumbo, Santorini): strong surtseyan-subplinian eruption with ash and pumice fall, toxic gasses (>50 fatalities). Generation of a strong tsunami.
more info on Kolumbo volcano

1570 eruption: Mikri Kameni Island appears

Formation of Mikri Kameni (gr., = "small burnt island"). Surtseyan activity, ash-fall and block fall-out accompany the formation of a lava dome which rises above sea level to form the new island Mikri Kameni.

1457-1458 activity

Unclear reports from Athanasius Kircher (1665) and Buondelmonte (1465/66) indicate that either a part of Palea Kameni collapsed and disappeared or a new island between Palea Kameni and Thera was built.

726 AD subplinian (?) eruption

Strong explosive probably sub-plinian eruption. Records by Nicephoros (758-823), Theophanes (752-818) and Cedremus (after 1059). Probably small effusive activity following the pumice eruption creating the black blocky lava lobe at Agios Nikolaos (the small harbor bay with the church and hot iron springs).

46 - 726 AD activity

No reports of activity are known from that period. There was either actually no eruption or it has not been recorded.

46 AD eruption - appearance of a new island

Appearance of a new island that probably grew together with Hiera and formed the basis of Palea Kameni. Descriptions by Roman historians Seneca (4 BC-65 AD), Livy (59 BC-AD 17), Pliny the Elder (23-79 AD), Dio Cassius (ca. 200 AD), Aurelius Victor (4th century AD), Philostratos (ca. 200 AD), Orosius (5th century AD), Cassiodorus. (418-562 AD), Labbreus (1670). Probably surtseyan activity with updoming of the sea-floor.

197 BC eruption: appearance of Palea Kameni

Formation of an island called Hiera (gr., = "the holy one") inside the caldera, probably a precursor of Palea Kameni. Documented by greek and Roman writers: Strabo (66BC - 24 AD), Plutarch (ca. 40-120 AD), Pausanias (ca.120 AD), Justinus (2nd century AD), Eusebius from Cesarea (270-340 AD) and Ammianus Marcellinus (ca. 330-400 AD). Probably surtseyan activity with updoming of the sea-floor (comparable with the 1707-1711 events).

1613 +- 13 BC Minoan eruption

The most recent plinian eruption on Santorini occurred in the late Bronze Age at around 1613 BC and is known as the so-called Minoan eruption. It is one the biggest known volcanic explosions in younger time,- and one of the most studied, but still most mysterious eruptions of all time-. It devastated not only Santorini, but had a deep impact on the whole of the Eastern Mediterranean. Perhaps it even had serious world-wide effects and changed history.
Size of the Minoan eruption
Dating of the Minoan eruption
Still today, one can see its deposits, the characteristic, tens of meters thick layer of white pumice and ash that blankets most of the surface of the island group. The eruption changed the shape of the island itself dramatically: it is now believed that before the eruption, it had the shape of an almost complete ring that enclosed an earlier, shallower caldera.
Large sections of island collapsed into the emptied magma chamber after the eruption, literally disappearing under the sea. The ring-island was breached to the W and NW, and the caldera was significantly widened and deepened.
The Minoan eruption devastated the rich, highly developed economic center, that Santorini was at that time. Since 1969, intense archaeological excavations have brought to light an important Cycladic/Minoan town which had been buried beneath the volcanic ash for almost 4000 years. Although it appears that people had time to evacuate their island in time before the eruption, carrying most of their goods with them, the findings from Akrotiri are impressive: especially, they include well-preserved and magnificent wall paintings, ceramics and other objects. Thanks to the work of numerous archaeologists, a new light was thrown on an important prehistoric period and culture. The spectacular discovery even induced continuing speculations that relate the volcanic destruction of Santorini to the legend of the sunken Atlantis.

Further information / links:

Santorini Decade Volcano /
Tom's private website about Santorini, Etna and other volcanoes. Contains a huge archive of volcano photos, information and other stuff.
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