Volcano That Fueled Atlantis Legend Could Erupt Again

Santorini caldera experiences first tremors in 60 years
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 24, 2012 1:47 PM CDT
The Greek island of Santorini is shown, May 23, 2011.   (AP Photo/Eurokinissi)

(Newser) – The volcano that may have given birth to the Atlantis legend has reawakened after more than 60 years, and could be heading for a new eruption, LiveScience reports. About 3,600 years ago, eruptions at the Greek isle of Santorini devastated the Minoan civilization and reduced much of Santorini to a largely underwater caldera, or volcanic crater, perhaps inspiring the legend of the lost city. The caldera was hit with smaller eruptions over the years, but those ended in 1950—until January 2011.

Using a GPS monitoring system, scientists detected movement and determined that Santorini experienced a series of small tremors, magnitude 3.2 or less, that month. The GPS sensors determined that the land near the volcano was swelling at a rate of seven inches a year, due to magma forming below the surface. But, scientists say, that may not mean an explosion is inevitable. "We've witnessed similar deformation events at other large calderas—Yellowstone, Long Valley California, and Campi Flegrei—without eruption," says one researcher, who adds that "90% of magmatic intrusion events do not reach the surface."

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