Abstract

During the Bronze Age Minoan eruption of Santorini Volcano, Greece, a volcanic ash layer was spread over the southern Aegean and the eastern Mediterranean. Contemporaneous slumping of ash-fall deposits, which accumulated on the sea floor, generated density currents that entered basins in the southern Aegean Sea. Beneath the Ta divisions of the resulting turbidites we have observed a separate depositional layer. This layer is coarser grained than the base of the overlying Ta division, shows a lower half enriched in crystals and lithic rock and an upper half enriched in pumice shards, and is depleted in silt-size components compared to the Ta division. We propose that this layer formed by the incorporation of water into the head of a sediment-laden density current, resulting in fluidization and expansion of the head and the segregation and sedimentation of the coarser and denser particles. This layer was subsequently overridden by the body of the flow that deposits the overlying Ta division.

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