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Starlyte

Did Thera's explosion doom Minoan Crete?

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For decades, scholars have debated whether the eruption of the Thera volcano in the Aegean more than 3,000 years ago brought about the mysterious collapse of Minoan civilization at the peak of its glory. The volcanic isle (whose remnants are known as Santorini) lay just 110 kilometers from Minoan Crete, so it seemed quite reasonable that its fury could have accounted for the fall of that celebrated people.

This idea suffered a blow in 1987 when Danish scientists studying cores from the Greenland ice cap reported evidence that Thera exploded in 1645 B.C., some 150 years before the usually accepted date. That put so much time between the natural disaster and the Minoan decline that the linkage came to be widely doubted, seeming far-fetched at best.

Now, scientists at Columbia University, the University of Hawaii and other institutions are renewing the proposed connection.

New findings, they say, show that Thera's upheaval was far more violent than was previously calculated (many times larger than the 1883 Krakatoa eruption, which killed more than 36,000 people). They say the blast's cultural repercussions were equally large, rippling across the eastern Mediterranean for decades and perhaps centuries.

"It had to have had a huge impact," said Floyd McCoy, a geologist at the University of Hawaii who has studied the eruption for decades and recently proposed that it was much more violent than had been previously thought.

The scientists say Thera's outburst produced deadly waves and dense clouds of volcanic ash over a vast region, crippling ancient cities and fleets, setting off climate changes, ruining crops and sowing wide political unrest. For Minoan Crete, the scientists see direct and indirect consequences. McCoy discovered that towering waves from the eruption that hit Crete were up to 15 meters high, about 50 feet, smashing ports and fleets and severely damaging the maritime economy.

Other scientists found indirect, long-term damage. Ash and global cooling from the volcanic pall caused wide crop failures in the eastern Mediterranean, they said, and the agricultural woes in turn set off political upheavals that undid Minoan friends and trade.

"Imagine island states without links to the outside world," William Ryan, a geologist at Columbia's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, told a meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

Scientists who link Thera to the Minoan decline say the evidence is still emerging and in some cases sketchy. Even so, they say it is already compelling enough to have convinced many archaeologists, geologists and historians that the repercussions probably amounted to a death blow for Minoan Crete.

Rich and sensual, sophisticated and artistic, Minoan culture flourished in the Bronze Age between roughly 3,000 and 1,400 B.C., the first high civilization of Europe. It developed an early form of writing and used maritime skill to found colonies and a trade empire.

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qoute-This idea suffered a blow in 1987 when Danish scientists studying cores from the Greenland ice cap reported evidence that Thera exploded in 1645 B.C., some 150 years before the usually accepted date.

Greenland ice cores shows evidence of a large volcanic eruption in 1642 ± 5 BCE which has been associated with Santorini.[32] However, volcanic ash retrieved from an ice core does not match the expected Santorini fingerprint.[18] The late Holocene eruption of the Mount Aniakchak, a volcano in Alaska, is proposed as the most likely source of the minute shards of volcanic glass in the Greenland ice core.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minoan_eruption

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In Greek mythology, I think the Flood of Deucalion may well correspond to the Thera eruption.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deucalion#Dating_by_early_scholars

For some time during the Middle Ages, many European Christian scholars continued to accept Greek mythical history at face value, thus asserting that Deucalion's flood was a regional flood, that occurred a few centuries later than the global one survived by Noah's family. On the basis of the archaeological stele known as the Parian Chronicle, Deucalion's Flood was usually fixed as occurring sometime around c. 1528 BC. Deucalion's flood may be dated in the chronology of Saint Jerome to c. 1460 BC. According to Augustine of Hippo (City of God XVIII,8,10,&11), Deucalion and his father Prometheus were contemporaries of Moses. According to Clement of Alexandria in his Stromata, "...in the time of Crotopus occurred the burning of Phaethon, and the deluges of Deucalion."

It's interesting that the Flood of Deucalion has long been associated with the time of Moses, considering the modern theories that Thera may have been responsible for the various events of the Exodus.

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Gavin Menzies wrote a fantastic book on this subject. He linked Thera to Atlantis and suggested the Minoan empire went as far as the Americas.

"The lost Empire of Atlantis" is the title of the book.

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For there was a time, Solon, before the great deluge of all, when the city which now is Athens was first in war and in every way the best governed of all cities, is said to have performed the noblest deeds and to have had the fairest constitution of any of which tradition tells, under the face of heaven.

Timaeus

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