Abstract

The Hellenic arc is a terrane of extensive Quaternary volcanism. One of the main centers of explosive eruptions is located on Thera (Santorini), and the eruption of the Thera volcano in late Minoan time (1600–1300 B.C.) is considered to have been the most significant Aegean explosive volcanism during the late Holocene. The last eruptive phase of Thera resulted in an enormous submarine caldera, which is believed to have produced tsunamis on a large scale. Evidence suggesting seawater inundation was found previously at some archaeological sites on the coast of Crete; however, the cause of the tsunami and its effects on the area have not been well understood. On the Aegean Sea coast of western Turkey (Didim and Fethye) and Crete (Gouves), we have found traces of tsunami deposits related to the Thera eruption. The sedimentological consequences and the hydraulics of a Thera-caused tsunami indicate that the eruption of Thera volcano was earlier than the previous estimates and the tsunami did not have disruptive influence on Minoan civilization.

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