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Atlantis & Santorini

Map of "Insula Atlantis"
Insula Atlantis

An intriguing and "demonstrated" theory, locates Atlantis in the Eastern Mediterranean, in the archipelago of Cyclades, in an area occupied today by the island of Santorini.                     

As everybody knows the existing island of Santorini is the remains of a bigger island destroyed by an explosive volcanic eruption: it's known that the ancient Volcano of Thera erupted about 18 cubic Km of magma and the explosion left nothing but a big blackened rock. Only in the 70s the radiocarbon dating method determined the age of a throne found buried under the ash: the eruption should have happened in the 1456 BC.

Infact this date matches with a hypothesis made by the greek geologist Angelo Galanopulos who analized some episodes of the Bible (The Three Days of Darkness, The Earthquakes, The Parting of the Red Sea) and came to the conclusion that around the 1456 BC a big volcanic eruption interested the Eastern Mediterranean.
Furthermore, reading Platonian writings, the geologist said that there was an error that had multiplied by 10 all figures originally quoted: Atlantis was identified with Thera and, by reading 900 instead of 9000 years also the period of the disappearing of Atlantis coincided with the eruption that destroyed Santorini.

After careful studies, in 1973, the geologist Dorothy Vitaliano emphasized as the topography of Atlantis, described by Plato, was similar to that of Thera, which is also proved by a fresco found in the Akrotiri Excavations in Santorini Island. Consequently the destruction of Thera, a naval base of the Minoan Empire, and the subsequent Tsunamis would have made gradually disappear that civilization and its supremacy in the Mediterranean with the next rise of Mycenae. This natural event would have given birth to the myths of Jason and the Minotauro, the narrations of Plato and the episodes of the Bible.

However, the sequence of events and the eruption in Thera, as also documented by the excavations and differently from Plato's writings, exclude the theory of the sudden cataclysm. Infact in all houses brought to light in Akrotiri there are no human remains, no jewels, no precious objects, as if the inhabitants had had the time to gather their goods and run away. Tools and supplies of food were found in the basements of houses, perhaps in order to protect them from tremors: practice that suggests the habit of islanders to earthquakes.

Probably the eruption has been gradual and characterized by numerous tremors for some weeks, so the population had time to leave the island and to come back later. In fact excavations demonstrate that the population had started to repair damages and to continue the common life. Excavations brought to light: a street reopened, debris collected in ordered heaps, a window's frame enlarged to build a door, a fireplace in a house, a bathtub dragged on the roof in order to collect rainwater ... Nevertheless the reconstruction had to come to an end as soon as the Volcano started its activity again, so the population left Thera forever, heading towards Crete. This was the start of the paroxysmal phase of the eruption with an impressive sequence of phenomena that produced, first, a rain of pumice, then a rain of bigger red stones and finally a rain of pink pumice, the typical stone that made the island of Santorini famous worldwide.
Then the volcano exploded: an overheated jet of compressed materials and gas reached the stratosphere at 2000 km per hour - its roars were heard from Africa to Scandinavia, from the Persian Gulf to Gibraltar. The volcanic ash was scattered for many kilometers and transformed the day into the darkest night, also modifying sunrises, sunsets and weather conditions. 

The violent explosion of magma had emptied the gigantic magma basin below the island, causing the collapse of the Volcano; billions of cubic meters of water fell-in the burning abyss: the sudden vaporization of the water must have unleashed a series of explosions that have destroyed what remained of the island, delivering 60-meter high waves that smashed both Crete and Egypt. Was this the end of Atlantis?

Surely it was the end of Santorini and its civilization. What is true is that the mystery of the existence of a disappeared island will always intrigue man - people will always try to identify Atlantis somewhere.

We should heed the words of a famous writer:

"It is as well that Atlantis should remain a mystery.

It is right that man, looking at the ocean, should worry thinking of a distant and inscrutable realm swallowed up in one day and one night by the sea and fire. The proud dream of an eternity shattered by nature's reawakening.

Civilisations are born, grow and finally die. Let us prepare ourselves for this.

Atlantis never existed!

It is everywhere."

The internal structure of the Volcano
Volcano structure
Scheme of the formation of the Caldera
The formation of the Caldera
The crater of the Volcano
The crater of the Volcano

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Santorini Island