Earthquakes were a common phenomenon in Santorini but a devastating earthquake that occurred in 1613 BC, was the reason for a massive volcanic eruption, actually one of the largest in the history of Earth.

Many multi-story buildings collapsed and some people abandoned the island immediately and they never came back. The absence of valuable objects or jewelry in the excavations of Akrotiri, as well as the fact that there were no human or animal skeletons found, indicates that eventually, everybody left the island as the explosion was building up. Probably they were aware that something bad was coming up but they definitely did not know what the extent of this colossal event would be. What also remains unknown is the interval between the earthquake and the eruption.

On the other hand, there were many severe consequences that not only affected Santorini, whose devastation was total, but also the rest of the world. The entire island was covered in volcanic ash, and basalt rocks hit the edifices of Akrotiri. The volcano was swallowed by the sea and along with it, a large area of the island Stroggili, as its name used to be. Santorini, Therasia, and Aspronisi are the remnants of this big round island. Huge tidal waves covered the land and flooded the island in the aftermath, resulting in the island remaining uninhabited for many centuries to come. This explains why the legend of Atlantis and some biblical catastrophes are associated with this eruption. It is also usually compared to another legendary eruption, that of the volcano of the island of Krakatoa in Indonesia.

The shores of the Aegean Sea suffered as well from the tsunami that was created and also from the volcanic ash which, in combination with the acid rain, burned the vegetation, whereas some nearby islands disappeared completely. It is believed that this eruption led to the extermination of the Minoan civilization of Crete, an exemplary advanced civilization. Besides the volcanic ash that was transferred across the world, the explosion also provoked a serious effect on the earth’s climate by causing a profound volcanic winter that was felt all over the world.

Until 1950, when the last volcanic activity was recorded, the volcano has erupted several times but none of them was as tragic as the prehistoric one. However, they all contributed to the present form of the island of Santorini by reshaping it continuously, and to the creation of the two residual volcanic islands, Palaia Kammeni and Nea Kammeni along with the healing Hot springs. Today, Santorini has lunar landscapes, colorful volcanic cliffs, breathtaking beaches covered in all colors of volcanic sand and pebbles, and a fertile, volcanic soil that offers rare products. The volcano stands calmly across the sea and visitors have the chance to step on it and explore it.

Scientists constantly study the volcano, its activity, and everything associated with it, so people can feel safe, relax, and relish what the wonderful island of Santorini has to offer!
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