4.0 The caldera wall between Fira and Athinios contains a geological record reaching back about 200,000 years. In the lower levels can be seen the double layers of the Lower Pumice (Bu); near the top of the dark section the Middle Pumice is visible. This is followed by the plant-bearing double-band, which is too thin to be seen in this view, and at the top are the three layers of the Minoan eruption (Bo).

Stratigraphy - the Backbone of the Geology

The layers of volcanic ash erupted from Santorini have a wide regional importance, because they were produced by a relatively brief but well-defined event and were laid down contemporaneously in a wide region. Knowing their ages, one can use them as time markers wherever they can be identified. Determining the ages of stratigraphic units of this kind is one of the important challenges facing the geologist. To do this, he uses the dating tools of stratigraphy and paleontology: fossils and the basic laws of physics.

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