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Minoan (Thera) Tsunami

Presentation on the Minoan Tsunami.
by

Y. Cheung

on 28 October 2012

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Transcript of Minoan (Thera) Tsunami

The result was the formation of the three-island archipelago of Thera, Therasia, and Aspronisi. (Camp, 2006) All but a thin crescent of land is left. (Regula, 2010) Minoan (Thera) Tsunami References

1. Barnard, B. (2003). Dangerous planet. New York: Crown Publishers. During the Late Bronze Age The exact date of
the natural disaster
is unknown. Some archaeologists place the date at around 1500 B.C., based on similarities between pottery shards found in a
town buried in ash by the blast
and pottery in Egypt from the
New Kingdom. (Broad, 2009) 36°25′12″N 25°25′54″E Thera (the ancient Greek island) (Wikipedia, 2011) The exact date of
the natural disaster
is unknown.
(Than, 2006) Based on similarities between pottery shards found in Akrotiri, a
town buried in ash by the blast, and pottery in Egypt from the New Kingdom, some archaeologists place the date at around 1500 B.C.
(Than, 2006) However, radio carbon experts set a different date.
(Than, 2006) Besides rewriting history, the two radio carbon studies strongly suggest that the date of the natural disaster was about 100 years earlier, somewhere between 1660 B.C. and 1600 B.C .
(Than, 2006) Geologist Walter Friedrich of the University of Aarhus in Denmark led a study using a single branch to pinpoint the time of death for an olive tree believed to have been buried alive during the eruption. (Than, 2006) (Kwan, 2006) Sturt Manning, a professor of classics and the incoming director of the Malcolm and Carolyn Wiener Laboratory for Aegean and Near Eastern Dendrochronology at Cornell, led a Cornell University radiocarbon study , in which Manning and his colleagues analyzed 127 radiocarbon measurements from short-lived samples, including tree-ring fractions and harvested seeds that were collected in Santorini, Crete, Rhodes and Turkey.
(Kwan, 2006) Further research must be conducted to pinpoint an exact date.
(Kwan, 2006) 1. Barnard, B. (2003). Dangerous planet. New York: Crown Publishers.
2. Wikipedia, . (2011). Minoan Eruption. Wikipedia. Retrieved April 14, 2011, fromhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minoan_eruption
3. Than, K. (2006). Radiocarbon studies push back date of thera eruption. Fox News, Retrieved from http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,193443,00.html
4. Kwan, A. (2006, April 28). Cornell study of ancient volcano, seeds and tree rings suggests rewriting late bronze age mediterranean history. Retrieved from http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/April06/Bronze.age.AK.html
5. Leadbeater, E. (2006). Thera eruption was bigger still . BBC News, Retrieved from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/5287124.stm
6. Sewell, D. A. (2001, September). Santorini (thera) and its eruption in the late bronze age. Retrieved from http://www.santorini-eruption.org.uk/
7. The Thera Foundation. (2007, May 30). The minoan catastrophe: the theran pyroclastic surge theory. Retrieved from http://www.therafoundation.org/Members/sbaird/sbaird01/view
8. Oregon State University. (2011). Volcanic tsunamis . Retrieved from http://volcano.oregonstate.edu/tsunamis
9. Rooney, J. P. (2007). The minoan tsunami, part i. Amphora, 6(1), Retrieved from http://www.apaclassics.org/ee/images/uploads/documents/amphora/Amphora6.1.pdf
10. Minoura, K., Imamura, F., Kuran, U., Nakamura, T., Papadopoulos, G. A., Takahashi, T., & Yalciner, A. C. (2000, January). Discovery of minoan tsunami deposits. Retrieved from http://www.jeofizikci.org/Makale/geology.pdf
11. Lilley, H. (2007). The wave that destroyed atlantis. BBC News, Retrieved from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6568053.stm
12. The Moscone Center. (2006). Great tsunamis. Proceedings of the 100th Anniversary 1906 earthquake conference commemorating the 1906 san francisco 1906 earthquake, http://www.1906eqconf.org/tutorials/IntroTsunamis_Dengler2.pdf
13. Broad, W. J. (2009). In the mediterranean, killer tsunamis from an ancient eruption. The New York Times, Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/03/science/03tsunami.html
14. Novikova, T., Papadopoulos, G. A., & McCoy, F. (2011). Volcanic tsunamis in the mediterranean sea: a review. Retrieved from http://meetingorganizer.copernicus.org/EGU2011/EGU2011-6739.pdf
15. Regula, D. (2010, February 21). Tsunamis in greece. Retrieved from http://gogreece.about.com/od/newsmedia/a/tsunamisgreece.htm
16. Pfeiffer, T. (2004, February 3). Models of the pre-minoan island (prior to ca. 1645 bc). Retrieved from http://www.decadevolcano.net/santorini/preminoan.htm
17. Friedrich, W. L., Kromer, B., Friedrich, M., Heinemeier, J., Talamo, S., & Pfeiffer, T. (2006). Santorini eruption radiocarbon dated to 1627-1600 b.c. Volcano Discovery, Retrieved from http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/santorini/minoan_eruption/1613bc_olive-tree-date.html
18. Fisher, R. V., Heiken, G., & Hulen, J. B. (1997). Volcanoes crucibles of change. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
19. Macdonald , C., & Knappett, C. (2005). Brutal heart of society shaken loose by the violence of nature. Times Higher Education, Retrieved from http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?storyCode=193466§ioncode=26
20. History Wiz, . (2008). The disappearance of the minoans. Retrieved from http://www.historywiz.com/minoanfate.htm
21. MacGillivray, J. A. (2010). Earthquake, volcano, tunami: natural disasters and political change. Proceedings of the Earthquake, volcano, tunami: natural disasters and political change, http://www.getty.edu/museum/programs/lectures/natural_disasters.html
22. Hadingham, E. (2008, January 4). Did a tsunami wipe out a cradle of western civilization?. Discover, Retrieved from http://discovermagazine.com/2008/jan/did-a-tsunami-wipe-out-a-cradle-of-western-civilization/article_view?b_start:int=2&-C
23. Lienhard, J. H. (2006). The thera eruption. Retrieved from http://uh.edu/engines/epi2085.htm
The Thera Expedition, Initials. (2006, June). The impact of the eruption. Retrieved from http://www.uri.edu/endeavor/thera/index.html
24. Science World, (2009). Ancient mysteries - minoans [Web]. Available from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJoc9Flq4XE&feature=fvwrel
25. Whipps, H. (2008). How the eruption of thera changed the world. Live Science, Retrieved from http://www.livescience.com/4846-eruption-thera-changed-world.html Where Ancient Greece (Kwan, 2006) (Rooney, 2007) Which is modern day (Leadbeater, 2006) and When? The Cause Volcanic eruption of Thera
(Nova, 2005) Explosive After the ejection of a huge volume of pyroclastic products, the magma chamber was emptied and the caldera collapsed into the chamber. (Sewell, 2001 ) The collapse of the caldera into the sea during the eruption generated the huge tsunami. A giant wave traveled across the Southern Aegean Sea as far as the western coasts of Turkey and Crete. (Oregon State University, 2011) Thera is a marine caldera type volcano with a magma chamber very close to sea level. (Sewell, 2001) (The Thera Foundation, 2007) VEI of 6.9
(Sewell, 2001) The volcanic nature of Thera is caused by the convergence of the African and Eurasian tectonic plates and by the subduction under the Hellenic Arc. (Sewell, 2001) Thera is part of the Hellenic Volcanic Arc, which is "fed magma and dissolved gas created by the fractional melting of the African plate as it subducts into the earth’s mantle underneath the Eurasian plate’s Aegean subplate. The rate of subduction is about five centimeters per year."
(The Thera Foundation, 2007) It exploded with the force of 150 hydrogen bombs.
(Barnard, 2003) It is one of the largest volcanic eruptions in the last 20,000 years.
(The Thera Foundation, 2007) Major widespread damage, but the extent and details of the damage is unknown because the natural disaster occurred so long ago. The blast was heard over 3000 miles away. (Lilley, 2007) "Ash settled as far away as China, Greenland, and western North America."
(Than, 2006) This eruption is considered to have been the most significant Aegean explosive volcanism during the late Holocene. (Minoura, Imamura, Kuran, Nakamura, Papadopoulos, Takahashi, & Yalciner, 2000) Famous stones at Amnisos Villa showing possible effect of Tsunami damage (Sewell, 2001) Short eruption - lasted for around four days - and was probably in the summer months (Sewell, 2001) The almost complete destruction of the towns on the island of Thera, such as Akrotiri. (Sewell, 2001) Possible structural collapse of buildings and destruction of crops in the encompassed areas. (Sewell, 2001) Possible Starvation of people. (Sewell, 2001) Possible death of animals, most likely sheep. (Sewell, 2001) Marine resources may have been affected. (Sewell, 2001) It's estimated that there was a global cooling of approximately 0.5 degrees Celsius. (Sewell, 2001) The Effects (Sewell, 2001) Human fatalities/Injuries: Exact number is unknown The
Effects (Sewell, 2001) The destruction of ports and the smashing of ships. (NOVA, 2011) The Thera tsunami thrashed the coastlines of Crete, Greece, and even distant Egypt. In parts of Turkey, the waves were 800 feet high and reached 30 miles inland. (Barnard, 2003) Houses were ripped off their foundation by the pounding waves. (Barnard, 2003) 100,000 people may have died. ( The Moscone Center, 2006) (The New York Times, 2009) On nearby islands, people were severely burned by the hot, glowing air emitted from the eruption. (Barnard, 2003) Thera was buried in thick layers of hot ask, pumice, and stone. (Barnard, 2003) However, other causes for the tsunami should not be ruled out, such as earthquakes or the pyroclastic flows.
(Novikova, Papadopoulos, & McCoy, 2011) As mentioned previously, the volcano collapsed and a caldera was formed, changing the topography of the island. (Camp, 2006) (Camp, 2006) Nobody knows for sure what the topography of Thera was before the natural disaster. (Pfeiffer, 2004) Environmental Models of the pre-LBA eruption island have been considerably modified over the years. (Pfeiffer, 2004) It was thought that the topography of the island before the eruption was large and circular with a central cone or a system of several overlapping volcanic shields until approximately 20 years ago. In more recent years, evidence has been found that indicates that the present-day caldera already existed before the eruption, at least in parts. (Pfeiffer, 2004) The most popular theory for now is that Thera consisted of overlapping lava shields in the north and a large flooded crater dominating the south. (Fisher, Heiken, & Hulen, 1997) "Druitt and Francaviglia (1991) claim that their model is the up-to-date most accurate one. It shows a caldera that looked quite similar to the present one with a central volcanic island (Pre-Kameni). Its existence is supported by the presence of abundant black, glassy dacite blocks in the 3rd phase products that are similar to the Kameni lavas but absent in other lithologies on Santorini." (Pfeiffer, 2004) The white Minoan pumice and ash tuff covers most of the island. (Pfeiffer, 2004) "Virtually all vegetation and wood present in man-built structures seems to have been burnt." (Friedrich, Kromer, Friedrich, Heinemeier, Pfeiffer, & Talamo, 2006) The Minoan pumice layer in the quarry near Fira. (Friedrich, Kromer, Friedrich, Heinemeier, Pfeiffer, & Talamo, 2006) However, there is an opposing theory. There is the argument that states that "the sedimentological consequences and the hydraulics of a Thera-caused tsunami indicate that the eruption of Thera volcano was earlier than the previous estimates, and thus the tsunami did not have disruptive influence on Minoan civilization. The numerical results and the sediment distribution show that the seawater flooding due to the tsunami invasion was restricted to the coastal zone of Crete and all along the Aegean coast. Despite its large wave height at the harbor of Amnissos and the Gulf of Mirambelo (6–11 m), it is estimated that the runup distance of waves was only several hundred meters from the
coast. Although the fishing and trading economy could have been affected by the destruction of boats and harbor installation, the tsunami would have had little influence on Minoan civilization." (Minoura, Imamura, Kuran, Nakamura, Papadopoulos, Takahashi, & Yalciner, 2000) It is widely held among volcanologists that the eruption started with strong Plinian activity and ended with collapse of the caldera. (Minoura, Imamura, Kuran, Nakamura, Papadopoulos, Takahashi, & Yalciner, 2000) How it (potentially) changed history/civilization The Thera tsunami pushed the Minoan civilization into an abrupt decline and caused it to collapse. (Barnard, 2003) The tsunami severely weakened the Minoans, and they never fully recovered from it. This made them vulnerable, easy prey for the Mycenaeans, who lived on mainland Greece and had been spared of the worst effects of the natural disaster. The Mycenaeans invaded and conquered the Minoan civlization, which ended Minoan glory. (Barnard, 2003) The Mycenaeans became the dominant power in the Mediterranean and with it, their culture became dominant as well. Their war and conquest based culture was very different from the Minoans' intellectual, educated, feminized, and peaceful culture. (Barnard, 2003) This was first suggested by Spyridon Marinatos, later the excavator of Akrotiri on Santorini from 1967-74 in 1939. (Macdonald & Knappett, 2005) The Thera eruption may have had an effect on Egypt. It has been linked to the Egyptian queen Hatshepsut's, stepmother and regent of paraoh Tuthmose III, bold actions. In the 15th century B.C. she unexpectedly breaking with tradition and seizing power early in Tuthmose's reign. At her coronation, the Minoans appeared suddenly and requested subordinate status by paying homage and begging for the "breath of life. It's suggested that they were remnants of a Minoan administration who were paying tribute to the new pharaoh and seeking vital aid to rebuild their world. However, Egyptian support ended with her death and the Mycenaeans were able to dominate the Mediterranean. (MacGillivray, 2010) It appears to have been a catalyst for economic, social and religious change. (Macdonald, & Knappett, 2005) Their economy was stressed by refugees from Thera. (Barnard, 2003) Parts of settlements were abandoned and renovated buildings had their rooms subdivided. (Macdonald , & Knappett, 2005) There was a greater emphasis on storage facilities. (Macdonald, & Knappett, 2005) "The loss of life and livelihood after the eruption may have aggravated problems of class difference and widened the gap between the elite and the commoners, which Driessen says 'existed already in Minoan society.'" (Hadingham, 2008) It's theorized that it drove deep-sea sailors from the nearby islands back to the Greek mainland, bringing new sailing technologies with them and making mainland Greece a seagoing nation. (Lienhard, 2006) Their ports, trading fleet, and navy destroyed, disrupting their trade network. (Lilley, 2007) It changed the political landscape of the ancient world indefinitely and altered the cultural makeup. (Whipps, 2008) Archaeologists found a cult statuette that had been deliberately smashed and burned. (Macdonald, & Knappett, 2005) (Hadingham, 2008) It was the beginning of the warring city-state system of ancient Greece. This gave us the basis for a society dominated by men, based conquest, and supported by slaves. The culture of the Mycenaeans is the basis for Western culture today. The Aegean would turn out to be a fundamental building block for the history of Europe, and the Minoan decline changed its early foundation completely. (Whipps, 2008) Other historical/cultural impacts Atlantis The Minoan eruption and tsunami may have been the inspiration for Atlantis. The Greek philosopher Plato retold an old Egyptian story about an ancient continent-sized utopia called Atlantis, which in the distant past was swallowed up "in a single day and night." (Barnard, 2003) He may have been referring to and exaggerated Thera folklore passed down in Greece over many generations. (Whipps, 2008) It's also been loosely correlated with the Biblical story of Moses and the exodus from Egypt. There are some theories in which the effects of Thera's eruption are the explanation to the many plagues described in the Old Testament, such as the days of darkness and polluting of the rivers. (Whipps, 2008) Famous legends/myths Story of Moses Plato's Atlantis seems to have the religion, architecture, and many customs of the Minoan world. Along with that, his description of the destruction of Atlantis sounds like what could have happened during the natural disaster. ( So it's possible that Atlantis could be Thera. (Barnard, 2003) This could be more than a myth. (Lilley, 2007) Titanomachy in Hesiod's Theogony There is a chance that the eruption of Thera and volcanic fallout could have inspired the myths of the Titanomachy in Hesiod's Theogony. The background of the Titanomachy may come from the Kumarbi cycle, a Bronze Age Hurrian epic from the Lake Van region. (Wikipedia, 2011) The collapse of the Xia dynasty in and the rise of the Shang dynasty in China. (Wikipedia, 2011) The eruption produced about 19 km3 (dense rock equivalent) of pumice and ash fallout that was dispersed by the prevailing winds over a large area of Mediterranean region. (The Thera Expedition, 2006) Mitigation Many had been warned by the rumbles and escaped by sailed to Crete before the final disaster. (Barnard, 2003) There isn't any other known mitigation due to the time in which this event occurred. References By Y. Cheung
April 2011
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