What brought about the volcanic tsunami that devastated a Greek island 373 years in the past?

This view from an international volcano monitoring system shows the Kolumbo volcanic crater on the seafloor.

Enlarge / This view from a global volcano monitoring system reveals the Kolumbo volcanic crater on the seafloor. (credit score: SANTORY )

In 1650 CE, the Greek island of Santorini was devastated by the eruption of an underwater volcano referred to as Kolumbo. Folks first seen the water boiling and altering colour and a cone poking out of the floor of the ocean. Subsequent got here ejected glowing rocks, hearth and lightning, fumes of thick smoke, falling pumice and ash, earthquakes, and a strong tsunami with waves as excessive as 20 meters. All this eruptive exercise killed round 70 folks and a whole lot of cattle.

These particulars are primarily based on modern accounts compiled by French geologist Ferdinand A. Fouqué in 1879. A workforce of German and Greek scientists has now mixed that historic data with 3D seismic mapping and laptop simulations to find out why the volcano’s violent eruption triggered a tsunami. In response to a brand new paper printed within the journal Nature Communications, the tsunami resulted from a landslide adopted by the volcanic explosion.

Positioned some eight kilometers northeast of Santorini, Kolumbo additionally erupted round 1630 BCE with catastrophic penalties for historical Minoan tradition. Right now, the volcano boasts sulfide-sulfate hydrothermal vents which are dwelling to some uncommon species of microorganisms usually not discovered elsewhere close to hydrothermal vents. And it stays lively and probably harmful: A beforehand unknown magma chamber was found final yr and is rising at a fee of round four million cubic meters per yr. At that fee, the chamber will attain the identical quantity as the quantity of magma ejected within the 1650 eruption inside the subsequent 150 years.

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