Not by Fire but by Ice
THE NEXT ICE AGE - NOW!
Updated 29 August 06
Thera eruption half again as large as previously supposed
Plus, researchers find active underwater volcanic activity
28 Aug 06 - The Bronze Age eruption of Thera 3,600 years ago near mainland Greece would have devastated civilizations in the region.
The ash would have plunged an area of at least 300,000 sq km – much of the
Mediterranean- into total darkness, say the researchers. discharged into the atmosphere would have formed droplets, causing significant cooling of the Earth's surface. Sulphur
A survey around the island arc of Santorini shows volcanic pumice to a depth of 80m (19 stories!) covering the ocean floor for 20-30km in all directions.
The eruption may have propelled 60 cubic km of magma out of the volcano's crater. (Magma, not ash!)
"It was clear that this was a very substantial eruption to begin with, but this adds
an exclamation mark," says Steven Carey of the
, US, a co-author on the study. Universityof Rhode Island
The eruption dwarfs even that of Krakatoa, which ejected about 25 cubic km of molten rock, ash and pumice in 1883, killing 40,000 inhabitants of Java and
Sumatrain just a few hours.
Giant waves from the blast would have devastated ports and coastal areas. Tsunami deposits have been found on Crete and the west coast of
Some scientists have suggested that the eruption may be connected to the decline of the Minoan people, an ancient sea-faring civilisation living on nearby
Deep sea vents
The research team also discovered a bed of hydrothermal vents in the crater of nearby Kolumbo, a small submarine volcano located just to the north-east of Thera. The vents are places where water is drawn through seafloor cracks, is superheated and then ejected.
"What this tells us is that Kolumbo has a very active geothermal system beneath it right now," says Carey. "You have to have a lot of heat to drive this kind of vent system."
The study was undertaken by the
Universityof Rhode Islandand the for Marine Research. Hellenic Center
(I find it interesting that the date of the Thera eruption coincides with one of the largest eruption of Mount St. Helens, when more than one foot of red-hot pumice blanketed the
Riffe Lakearea in state.) Washington
Thanks to icewoman for this link
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