Minoan eruption

Major volcanic eruption around 1600 BCE

The Minoan eruption was a major catastrophic volcanic eruption that devastated the Aegean island of Thera (now called Santorini) in around 1600 BCE. It destroyed the Minoan settlement at Akrotiri, as well as communities and agricultural areas on nearby islands and the coast of Crete with subsequent earthquakes and tsunamis. With a VEI magnitude between 6 and 7, resulting in an ejection of approximately 60:km3 (14:cu:mi) of dense-rock equivalent (DRE), the eruption was one of the largest volcanic events on Earth in human history.

Although there are no clear ancient records of the eruption, its plume and volcanic lightning may have been described in the Egyptian Tempest Stele, and the ensuing volcanic winter coincides with a cold wave mentioned in the Chinese Bamboo Annals. Since tephra from the Minoan eruption serves as a marker horizon in nearly all archaeological sites in the Eastern Mediterranean, its precise date is of high importance and has been fiercely debated among archaeologists and geologists for decades, without coming to a definite conclusion.


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