Georgia Tech Associate Professor Andrew Newman has been monitoring more than 20 GPS stations on the famous Greek island of Santorini since 2006. He didn't see much action until January of last year. Since then, however, the beautiful island has been moving at unprecedented levels thanks to earthquakes created by the expansion of the volcano undeneath the well-known ciliff side villas and hotels. Some of Newman's stations have moved as much as nine centimeters.
That doesn't mean an erupt is imminent. In fact, other calderas like Santorini's have expanded at similar levels without erupting. But should it blow its top, Newman said it could prove to be dangerous for the tourist spot.
“If the caldera erupts underwater, it could cause local tsunamis and affect boat traffic, including cruise ships. Earthquakes could damage homes and produce landslides along the cliffs.”
More than 50,000 tourists a day flock to Santorini in the summer months (from May to October). It’s common to see as many as five cruise ships floating above the volcano. Santorini is the site of one of the largest volcanic events in human history.
Santorini is the site of the Minoan eruption, which occurred around 1650 B.C.. The blast buried the major port city of Akrotiri with more than 20 meters of ash and created Santorini’s famous, present-day cliffs. Newman says history will likely not repeat itself any time soon. Such an eruption comes along once every 100,000 years, and the current inflation in the magma chamber is less than 1 percent of the Minoan blast.
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