JEKA Photography: A Cruise through the Heart of the Caldera (Explore) Santorini / Thira / Greece / Ship / Island / Aegean / Mediterranean
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Santorini: Nea Kameni
It is the most active volcanic centre in the South Aegean Volcanic Arc, though what remains today is chiefly a water-filled caldera. The volcanic arc is approximately 500 km long and 20–40 km wide. The region first became volcanically active around 3–4 million years ago though volcanism on Thera began around 2 million years ago with the extrusion of dacitic lavas from vents around the region of Akrotiri.
The island is the site of one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history: the Minoan eruption (sometimes called the Thera eruption), which occurred some 3,600 years ago at the height of the Minoan civilization. The eruption left a large caldera surrounded by volcanic ash deposits hundreds of feet deep and may have led indirectly to the collapse of the Minoan civilization on the island of Crete, 110 km (68 mi) to the south, through the creation of a gigantic tsunami. This theory is not, however, supported by chronology, in that the collapse of the Minoan civilization did not occur concurrently with the date of the Tsunami; that happened some 90 years later. Another popular theory holds that the Thera eruption is the source of the legend of Atlantis.
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