2003 Seattle Annual Meeting (November 2–5, 2003)
Paper No. 36-2
Presentation Time: 1:15 PM-1:30 PM

BLENDING ARCHAEOLOGY AND GEOLOGY - RECONSTRUCTING THERA (SANTORINI, GREECE) BEFORE THE LATE BRONZE AGE ERUPTION

MCCOY, Floyd W., Natural Sciences, Univ of Hawaii-Windward, 45-720 Kea'ahala Rd, Kaneohe, HI 96744, fmccoy@hawaii.edu.

One of the major disasters in human antiquity, the Plinian eruption of Thera (Santorini) in the Late Bronze Age (LBA) ca. 1630 BC/BCE, destroyed an island that was at the core of a Cycladic culture in the southern Aegean Sea. New data indicate that this eruption was huge, far more explosive than previously thought (VEI=7.0 or more). Ground zero for this gigantic eruption was Thera and its inhabitants. The pre-eruption topography of the island has been recreated based upon criteria and inferences from: (1) sedimentological characteristics of the eruption deposit, inferred mechanisms of transport/deposition from these characteristics, and suggested vent placement/migration during the eruption, (2) exposures and samples of the pre-eruption landscape – topographic relief/elevations, soils, fossils - in both outcrops and wells, (3) geophysical surveys imaging the buried LBA landscape beneath the tephra deposit, and (4) indications of the LBA landscape depicted in wall paintings preserved at the archaeological site of Akrotiri. Paleotopographic depictions used computer mapping programs (Didger, ArcGIS with 3D Analyst, World Construction) to illustrate this LBA landscape applying modern topography and bathymetry as a foundation; LBA cultural features have not been added, but shall be with cooperation from archaeologists. A pre-eruption landscape is suggested with a ring-shaped island surrounding a large central caldera, somewhat similar to today’s topography, but with a large island centered within the caldera. Wall paintings, soil types buried beneath the LBA tephra, and fossils within the soils indicate a barren, wind-swept island with few trees surrounding the caldera, and a central island with perhaps more vegetation, better soils, and a large city.

2003 Seattle Annual Meeting (November 2–5, 2003)
Session No. 36
Archaeological Geology I
Washington State Convention and Trade Center: 2A
1:00 PM-3:45 PM, Sunday, November 2, 2003

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 35, No. 6, September 2003, p. 99

© Copyright 2003 The Geological Society of America (GSA), all rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted to the author(s) of this abstract to reproduce and distribute it freely, for noncommercial purposes. Permission is hereby granted to any individual scientist to download a single copy of this electronic file and reproduce up to 20 paper copies for noncommercial purposes advancing science and education, including classroom use, providing all reproductions include the complete content shown here, including the author information. All other forms of reproduction and/or transmittal are prohibited without written permission from GSA Copyright Permissions.