2016-11-09. An Ancient Tsunami That Ended a Civilization Gets Another Look.

posted Nov 16, 2016, 8:57 AM by Alan Gould
By Henry Fountain, The New York Times. For GSS Energy Flow chapter 2. Excerpt: In the 17th century B.C., Santorini was a small volcanic island in the Aegean Sea, home to Akrotiri, a Late Bronze Age outpost of Minoan civilization, which preceded ancient Greece. Then the volcano erupted, burying Akrotiri in ash and obliterating much of Santorini, turning it into a few smaller islands. The eruption was one of the world’s most powerful in the past 10,000 years, spewing some 20 cubic miles of rock into the skies and spawning a tsunami that struck the nearby island of Crete, which was the center of Minoan culture. Many archaeologists believe the tsunami was disruptive enough that the Minoans became easier prey for the outside invaders who conquered them a century and a half later and brought an end to one of the first European civilizations. But what caused the tsunami? Research published Tuesday, including seafloor surveys, suggests that it was likely caused by huge amounts of hot ash and lava spewing from the volcano — what volcanologists call pyroclastic flows — and pouring down its slopes into the water at high speed. The study contradicts earlier explanations that the tsunami must have been the result of a caldera collapse, which occurs when the crust above a volcano’s magma chamber slips swiftly downward as the chamber empties during an eruption....  http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/10/science/santorini-akrotiri-tsunami.html