Tsunami hazard risk of a future volcanic eruption of Kolumbo submarine volcano, NE of Santorini Caldera, Greece


Kolumbo submarine volcano, located NE of Santorini caldera in the Aegean Sea, has only had one recorded eruption during historic times (1650 AD). Tsunamis from this event severely impacted the east coast of Santorini with extensive flooding and loss of buildings. Recent seismic studies in the area indicate a highly active region beneath Kolumbo suggesting the potential for future eruptive activity. Multibeam mapping and remotely operated vehicle explorations of Kolumbo have led to new insights into the eruptive processes of the 1650 AD eruption and improved assessments of the mechanisms by which tsunamis were generated and how they may be produced in future events. Principal mechanisms for tsunami generation at Kolumbo include shallow submarine explosions, entrance of pyroclastic flows into the sea, collapse of rapidly accumulated pyroclastic material, and intense eruption-related seismicity that may trigger submarine slope collapse. Compared with Santorini, the magnitude of explosive eruptions from Kolumbo is likely to be much smaller but the proximity of the volcano to the eastern coast of Santorini presents significant risks even for lower magnitude events.

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This work was supported by the collaborative projects “Thera Exploration 2006” and “New Frontiers in the Ocean Exploration 2010” between the Graduate School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island (URI-USA), the Department of Geology & Geoenvironment of University of Athens (NKUA-GREECE), the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR-GREECE) and the Institute of Geology and Mineral Exploration (IGME-GREECE). The officers and the crew of the R/V AEGAEO and E/V NAUTILUS are gratefully acknowledged for their important and effective contribution to the field work.

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Nomikou, P., Carey, S., Bell, K.L.C. et al. Tsunami hazard risk of a future volcanic eruption of Kolumbo submarine volcano, NE of Santorini Caldera, Greece. Nat Hazards 72, 1375–1390 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11069-012-0405-0

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  • Tsunami
  • Hazard and risk
  • 1650 AD eruption
  • Santorini
  • Aegean Sea