Santorini Traveler - - GEOLOGY -

Two prom­i­nent and sim­i­lar pumice se­ries were de­scribed on Thera in 1879 the Up­per and Lower Pumice Se­ries (UPS and LPS). Since then, ge­ol­o­gists have treated the two se­ries sep­a­rately be­cause they seem­ingly oc­curred at dis­tinct lev­els and had dif­fer­ent ages. Here we show that these two pumice se­ries are iden­ti­cal; there is no LPS on San­torini. All strati­graphic con­clu­sions based on the LPS from San­torini should there­fore be dis­carded. The wa­ter-filled San­torini caldera with its steep in­ner slopes ex­isted be­fore the erup­tion. Vol­cano- tec­tonic ef­fects in con­nec­tion with caldera for­ma­tion cre­ated con­cen­tric ter­races that were man­tled by the prod­ucts of the Late Bronze Age (LBA) erup­tion. Sub­se­quent ero­sion only left rem­nants of the man­tle be­hind. Topographic ef­fects fol­lowed by slump­ing dur­ing sed­i­men­ta­tion caused con­fu­sion of the stratigraphy on the caldera wall. Our re­sults are sup­ported by ge­o­log­i­cal, pa­le­on­to­log­i­cal and ar­chae­o­log­i­cal ev­i­dence.

Fur­ther­more, the caldera with its min­er­als, pig­ments, har­bours and hot springs was ac­ces­si­ble for the There­ans. This rein­ter­pre­ta­tion opens new per­spec­tives for ar­chae­o­log­i­cal re­search. The cat­a­strophic LBA erup­tion (pre­vi­ously called the Mi­noan erup­tion) de­stroyed a flour­ish­ing cul­ture on San­torini and im­pacted neigh­bour­ing cul­tures around 1613 BC.

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