Skip to comments.Greece Is The Word For Volcanoes (Thera)
Posted on 08/25/2007 9:46:54 AM PDT by blam
Greece is the word for volcanoes
A local professor is studying the ancient eruption of Thera
By Helen Altonn
Floyd McCoy, Windward Community College professor of geology and oceanography, hopes during a year and a half in Greece to resolve the "hugely controversial" question of when the Thera volcano erupted.
He will investigate the Mediterranean's largest volcanic eruption in history as a Fulbright scholar. McCoy has spent the past 20 years studying geological evidence of the Late Bronze Age eruption of Thera volcano that led to the end of the Minoan culture on the island of Santorini.
Geophysicists say the eruption occurred in about 1645 B.C., but archaeologists prefer 1500 B.C., McCoy said. He is combining geology and archaeology into a new discipline -- geoarchaeology -- to try to settle the controversy.
McCoy said he became fascinated with the story of Thera volcano while getting his degrees and working at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts on the geology of the sea floor in the Mediterranean. "I kept finding volcanic ash material on the sea floor," he said.
He was on Columbia University's research faculty for about a dozen years to work on the Thera eruption, he said. "And I haven't stopped. Greece is a nice country. The culture we've come to like, and this eruption is stunning."
He found evidence that it was much more violent than believed, larger than the 1883 Krakatoa eruption that killed more than 36,000 people.
Scientists believe the Thera eruption spewed massive volcanic ash that led to climate changes, crippled ancient cities and wreaked havoc on cultures and sea trade.
McCoy will be working with a Texas A&M University group looking for shipwrecks in the deepest part of the ocean from the same period as the eruption. They will map the sea floor and look for evidence of ancient trade routes between Greece and Egypt. He will also develop remote techniques to record information in waters 12,000 feet deep.
"The (Minoan) culture was ruined by this volcanic eruption," McCoy said. "There is a buried city on Santorini where I've done work that is just as good as Pompeii," he said, referring to the Roman city buried by an eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79. "This is where we know about the furniture, beds, paintings -- their lifestyle."
He is excavating three sites this summer and three or four next summer "to make sense of the geology."
McCoy's work has been featured on NBC, BBC and the National Geographic, Learning and Discovery channels. He said he has done 14 TV documentaries on the eruption, and the 15th is in the offing. "At the end of every one of these, the question is, How is this related to Atlantis?"
There are theories that Thera was the fabled lost city of Atlantis. "As a scientist, I can't make a definite statement," McCoy said. "About all I could say is, I wish it could be related to Atlantis."
He will be based in Athens, Greece, as a visiting research professor at the American School of Classical Studies from September to May. He will mentor students and teach graduate seminars on natural hazards and geology.
As one of seven U.S. representatives going to Greece this year in the Fulbright Program, he will try to increase understanding between people of the two countries. The Fulbright grant is supported by funding from Congress, Greece and the private sector.
My money is with the geophysists.
I've heard theorizing that the There eruption might account for the biblical plagues that occured at the time of Moses.
I suggest they compromise, and put it somewhere between 1585 and 1600 BC.
A year in Thera. Rough duty there. :_)
That's presently my opinion too.
One of my greatest passions in life is scuba diving, and I always wanted to do it in the Agean. It looks as though age and finances will never permit it though.
One can only imagine what it was like for the people of that region when Thera blew.
Geophysicists say the eruption occurred in about 1645 B.C., but archaeologists prefer 1500 B.C., McCoy said.Only one ancient eruption was documented in surviving ancient texts, and that occurred around 200 BC. The supposed super-eruption can be dated to the earlier 20th century -- A.D.
My money is with the geophysists.Mine is with the historians. :')
New Ice-Core Evidence Challenges the 1620s age for the Santorini (Minoan) Eruption
Journal of Archaeological Science, Volume 25, Issue 3, March 1998, Pages 279-289 | 13 July 1997 | Gregory A. Zielinski, Mark S. Germani
Posted on 07/29/2004 3:25:45 AM EDT by SunkenCiv
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Deep Volcanic Fizz Forces Earth to Burp
LiveScience | July 12, 2007 | Ker Than
Posted on 08/01/2007 12:50:31 PM EDT by SunkenCiv
if I kick over a rock while I'm there, will I qualify for a grant?
I'm confident you'll get it correct one of these days, ahem.
Sure, where do I sent the money.
Just send it to Nicollo c/o the hotel. Make it payable in food or wine. If the champagne is good enough, I’ll turn over two rocks in your honor... lol!
Ahem, you'll have to send me a processing check for $1,200.00 before I can release the grant funds.
By some chance, do you wear a suit with dollar signs all over it...?
that’s a nice picture!
Gee. And I thought the taxpayers paid for the money. Good to see that Congress is funding everything for this guy.
Shoin ya boots guvna?
Oooooh, nice. Blue roofs are to the right, I’d guess?
Prehistoric Greek Water Works Found [ Mycenaean citadel of Midea ]
PhysOrg / AP | August 25, 2007 | Nicholas Paphitis
Posted on 08/26/2007 3:18:53 PM EDT by SunkenCiv
.... wish I could trade dem boots for fins for this trip, but there won’t be time enough for diving. (I only snorkle, sorry.) There will be just enough time for enjoying one of the world’s most beautiful spots, though. And, perhaps, some seriously warm Aegian waters... thermal, that is.
And to think that crescent moon of islands was once a full circle of land. Scary stuff.
Blue roofs are to the right, Id guess?You got it!
The Future of the Past:
Archaeology in the 21st Century
by Eberhard Zangger
tr by Storm Dunlop
Floyd McCoy, Windward Community College professor of geology and oceanographyHe also conducts an annual symposium on euchre. ;')
Have a great time nicollo, and please know that I envy you.
Have a great time nicollo, and please know that I envy you.
I'd be glad to fund such important research if you could help me with a minor problem. I need someone to cash a check in American funds. You just cash the check and wire the funds in excess of your grant to my bank in Nigeria . . . .
I have a whole book on the Thera eruption, and they clearly favor the 1646-1626 figures. Apparently it had serious eruptions that scared all the people away and then 2 decades later blew its top.
I know that historians favor 1500 BC because of the decline of the Minoan civilization, but I wonder if that could have been caused by the very major eruption of Etna which took place 1500 BC, +- 50 years. I wish I could find more about that eruption.
Neither date works for the original claim that Minoan civ croaked on raining ash, tsunamis, or whatever else is dreamed up about this. There’s no evidence for any large eruption at either time, so I guess that figures.
“the wave of destructions (most of them including fires) which defines the end of the Neopalatial period on Crete and to which the palaces at Mallia, Phaistos, and Zakro all fell victim cannot be dated earlier than LM IB (ca. 1480/1470 B.C.?). Hood [TAW I (1978) 681-690] claims that clear evidence of the earthquake which so severely damaged Akrotiri before the town was buried is to be found at several sites on Crete where it is clearly dated to LM IA. More importantly, tephra from the later eruption of the Theran volcano has been found within the past decade in LM IA contexts on Rhodes (at Trianda) and Melos (at Phylakopi) as well as on Crete itself, ample confirmation that the eruption preceded the LM IB destruction horizon on Crete by a significant amount of time. Thus no direct correlation can be established between the Santorini volcano and the collapse of Neopalatial Minoan civilization.”
SC - If I understand your post to me correctly you are saying that one source suggests Minoan volcanic traces around 1480-1470 BC. This is well within the 1500 BC plus or minus +- 50 years time frame.
RC - I am working on a theory that this same Mt. Etna eruption could have been the trigger for the Exodus events. Regional (plate wide) vulcanism could have caused the floor of the Red Sea to rise up, and than sink again as a magma pocket was emptied. Remember the “pillar of fire by night and pillar of smoke by day”? Volcanic ash from Etna would blow south over North Africa in certain seasons, get washed into the upper Nile and the excess phosphate cause a major red tide, dead fish, more frogs since fish were not eating their eggs, flies eating all kinds of dead stuff, illness of cattle and people trying to drink contaminated water. [Remember the various problems caused by the phisteria bloom in the Chesepeake Bay a few years ago from fertilizer runoff.] The fact that the Jewish refugees ate unleavened bread even makes sense. Dry baking crackers and flat breads would kill micro-organisms. I once ate something from a health store called Essene Bread. It used sprouted grains (water) and had been baked at a very low temperature leaving the interior very moist and only semi cooked. It was delicious incidentally, but if I had polluted water I would want it cooked a lot more. It would not surprise me if much Egyptian leavened bread was undercooked, especially if people were weak and ill and had no slaves to bring firewood, or dried dung. Let’s face it, there is a scarcity of forests in Egypt.
There isn’t anything on the ground to show it; that particular quote was to illustrate that any such (and hypothetical) eruption must have been a great big nothing, as it had no discernable impact on Minoan civilization. What is seen instead is a series of fires, and the towns cleaned out by whomever sacked ‘em. The idea of a huge eruption was dreamed up in 1939, and hadn’t any basis on the ground then; since then any little tidbit has been seized on as evidence, and each time has been abandoned in its turn.
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