Walter L. Friedrich

Santorini - volcano, natural history, mythology (Hardcover)

 ISBN: 9788779345058

Aarhus University Press


This is a completely new and revised edition of the best-seller "Fire in the Sea: The Santorini Volcano, Natural History and the Legend of Atlantis" (originally published by Cambridge University Press, 2000). When the Greek island of Santorini, classically known as Thera, dramatically erupted in 1613 BC 13 years, it produced one of the largest explosions ever witnessed, thereby possibly giving rise to the legend of Atlantis. This so-called 'Minoan' eruption triggered tsunamis that devastated coastal settlements in the region. On Santorini it left behind a Bronze Age Pompeii, which is now being excavated. Thriving Bronze Age settlements on the island - rich in colourful wall paintings and highly sophisticated pottery - were buried under thick layers of volcanic ash. The ejection of an immense volume of dust into the atmosphere also altered global climate for several years. The author, a well-known geologist, blends the thrill of scientific discovery with a popular presentation of the geology, archaeology, history, people and the environmental settings of the island group of Santorini. He not only gives a comprehensive overview of the volcanic island and its past, but also reports on the latest discoveries: the finding, for example, of olive trees which had been buried by the Minoan eruption has now made it possible to give a direct and precise radiocarbon date for the volcanic catastrophe. The author also seeks to assign certain geological structures, such as faulted rocks, red lavas and harbour sites, as depicted on the Bronze Age frescos from Santorini, to still-existing details in the Santorini landscape of today. Excellent colour photographs and illustrations along with easily understandable scientific and historic details will make this book highly appealing to a wide audience. It will also be useful as a supplementary text for introductory courses in earth and atmospheric sciences, geology, volcanology, and paleoclimatology, as well as ancient history and archaeology.

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