Scientists Warn of Possible Earthquakes, Volcanic Eruptions, Tsunamis in Santorini

img_4075-146xf7vGreek and international scientists warn of a possibility of earthquakes, underwater volcanic eruptions and accompanying tsunamis in the Santorini-Amorgos area.

The international PROTEUS project (Plumbing Reservoirs Of The Earth Under Santorini), composed of Greek, American and British scientists and funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), studied the Amorgos-Santorini underwater area. The data came from underwater bathymetric and seismic high-tech research conducted using the “Marcus Langseth” research vessel.

The data collected probably explains the fault associated with the 7.5 on the Richter scale earthquake in 1956, which hit Santorini, Amorgos and other islands and caused a 20-meter tsunami, resulting in 53 deaths.

The conclusion is that there is a good possibility that earthquakes, underwater volcanic eruptions and tsunamis in the Santorini Amorgos-site could be repeated.

The undersea area between Amorgos and Santorini is one of the more active areas of the Aegean Sea, where volcanos and active faults dominate.

“The study of active structures in the underwater area of Amorgos is of paramount importance as it pinpoints the seismic fault that caused the 1956 earthquake, so as to inform the inhabitants of the surrounding islands, as well as those in all parts of the world with such intense seismicity,” Paraskevi Nomikou — Geology Professor at Athens University and member of the research team –  told the Athens-Macedonia News Agency.

Around the island of Santorini, researchers also found that the morphology of the underwater bottom is formed by multiple volcanic landslides and deposition of pyroclastic flows in the form of underwater terraces — results of the catastrophic eruption of the volcano about 3600 years ago.

The data is important in order to assess the future possibilities of volcanic explosions. So far there have been little seismic imaging studies on Santorini and none for the magma chamber beneath the volcano. The seismic imaging has reached a depth of up to ten kilometers.