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GPS records the accelerated swelling of Santorini, a Greek volcano that last erupted in 1950

Researcher: Andrew V. Newman
Affiliation: Georgia Institute of Technology
Written by Celia Schiffman
1 September 2012


Santorini, a small group of islands located 200 km southeast of mainland Greece, has had a violent past, as evidenced by the collapsed volcanic caldera in its center. The giant Minoan eruption that occurred approximately 3660 years ago may have led to the demise of the Minoan culture, and is responsible for the creation of the large caldera. GPS instruments have been recording the recently renewed activity at Santorini after 60 years of quiescence.

Monitoring Using GPS

Using 19 temporary and five permanent GPS stations, researcher Andrew Newman has been monitoring the expanding deformation of Santorini that began on January 21, 2012. Over six months, the surface of the volcano has expanded by 140 mm at a rate of 180 mm/yr due to a relatively stable magma source located at four km depth that has expanded by 14 million cubic meters.

Although this amount of deformation has not been observed at Santorini in recent time, an eruption is not necessarily imminent. This amount of swelling is only a fraction of that which preceded the Minoan eruption, and similar observations have been made at comparable calderas that have not resulted in an eruption.

The researchers will continue to monitor the volcano with GPS to observe the changes in deformation, and model the evolving magma source.

Related Links


A. Newman, S. Stiros, L. Feng, P. Psimoulis, F. Moschas, V. Saltogianni, Y. Jiang, C. Papazachos, D. Panagiotopoulos, E. Karagianni, and D. Vamvakaris. Recent geodetic unrest at Santorini Caldera, Greece. J. Geophys. Res.-Solid Earth, Vol. 39, Art. No. L06309, published 30 March 2012. [Download PDF]


Santorini, hazards, volcano, GPS, campaign GPS, continuous GPS

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Last modified: 2019-12-24  02:24:33  America/Denver