Natural Hazards

, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 153–168 | Cite as

The great Minoan eruption of Thera volcano and the ensuing tsunami in the Greek Archipelago

  • John Antonopoulos


The eastern Mediterranean has been the cradle of many great civilizations. The history of the area consisted of glorious battles, heroic acts, and the rise and fall of great civilizations. But, sometimes, natural hazards became the cause for a new classification of the political, as well as of the military status quo of the region. The enormous eruption of the submarine volcano at the Greek island of Thera (Santorini) during the Bronze Age, around 1500 BC, is such a natural hazard. The tsunami generated by the eruption, literally wiped out the peace-loving Minoan civilization who inhabited the island of Crete. After the sea subsided, the configuration of the area was altered, and the decline of the Minoan principality on the Archipelago began. The present paper introduces evidence concerning the tsunami and states some of the after-effects which were partly responsible for the decline of the Minoan empire. All the information is gathered from historical sources and from recent research works. An effort has been made to include many of the theories introduced by various researchers through time concerning the event. Finally, information has been included from all known research, as well as from the author's own conclusions, in order to make the paper useful to future researchers.

Key words.

Bronze Age Thera (Santorini) volcano Minoan Crete Tsunamis caldera 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Antonopoulos
    • 1
  1. 1.Civil Engineering Department, School of EngineeringUniversity of PatrasPatrasGreece

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