Santorini Volcano History By Nikos Korakakis
It is the most active volcanic centre in the South Aegean
Volcanic Arc, though what remains today is chiefly a water-filled caldera.
The volcanic arc is approximately 500 km (310 mi) long and 20 to 40 km (12 to 25 mi) wide.
The region first became volcanically active around 3–4 million years ago, though volcanism on Thera began around 2 million years ago with the extrusion of dacitic lavas from vents around the Akrotiri.
The island is the site of one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history: the Minoan eruption (sometimes called the Thera eruption), which occurred some 3600 years ago at the height of the Minoan civilization. The eruption left a large caldera surrounded by volcanic ash deposits hundreds of metres deep and may have led indirectly to the collapse of the Minoan civilization on the island of Crete, 110 km (68 mi) to the south, through a gigantic tsunami. Another popular theory holds that the Thera eruption is the source of the legend of Atlantis
Santorini and Anafi are the only locations in Europe to feature a hot desert climate according to the Köppen climate classification system. Santorini generally experiences two seasons. April to October is the warm and dry season and the cold and rainy season lasts from November to March.
The name of the island comes from the ancient Spartan "Theras" (12th
century B.C.) who first colonized the island.
Theras came from the royal generation of Cadmus, the son of
Aftesiona. His sister, Argea, was married to Aristodemus,who during
the descent of the Dorians conquered Laconia - Peloponnese.
Aristodemos was hit by lighting and died at Naupactos, leaving behind his very young twin sons Euresthenes and Prokles.
Theras became their custodian. Once the children became of age, they helped their uncle, who led the colonists on the island of Kallisti, in which he gave his name. Nowadays, the capitol of the island (with a little twist) still bears his name Thera -> Fira.
The name "Santorini", however, comes from the passing of the Frankish Crusaders who, during their passage to resupply,on the island of Thirassia, they erected a chapel in honour of Santa Irini (Saint Irene).
Nowadays there is strong evidence that Agia Irini at the base of the mountain of Mesa Vouno gave Santorini its name,and not the chapel of Santa Irini in Thirassia.
Due to its unique ecology and climate, and especially its volcanic ash soil, Santorini is home to unique and prized produce. Santorini tomatoes are renowned; they are cherry tomatoes that are extremely tasty and sweet, and with an intensely red, staining colour. Santorini "fava" is a purée made of the hulled, then sun-dried, then boiled legume Lathyrus clymenum - not from the yellow split pea as in the rest of Greece. The white eggplants of Santorini are very sweet, with very few seeds, and can be eaten raw. The katsoúni is a unique local variety of large cucumber which, if left unpicked when green, turn yellow and acquire a sweet taste almost indistinguishable from that of melon
The island also remains the home of a small, but flourishing, wine industry, based on the indigenous grape variety, Assyrtiko, with auxiliary cultivations of two otherAegean varietals, Athiri and Aidani. The vines are extremely old and resistant to phylloxera (attributed by local winemakers to the well-drained volcanic soil and its (chemistry), so the vines needed no replacement during the great phylloxera epidemic of the late 19th century. In their adaptation to their habitat, such vines are planted far apart, as their principal source of moisture is dew, and they often are trained in the shape of low-spiralling baskets, with the grapes hanging inside to protect them from the winds.