The destructive volcanic eruption of Thira has become the most famous single event in the Aegean before the fall of Troy. The eruption would likely have caused a considerable climate change for the eastern Mediterranean region. It was one of the hugest volcanic eruptions on Earth in the last few thousand years. When the volcano erupted, about 1650 BC, it is said to have produced tidal waves in excess of 200 metres which were sent hitting the northern coast of Crete, causing a violent devastation. Earthquakes were activated and the ash and debris obstructed the skies. It is not long after that the Minoan civilization, once rulers of the seas, disappeared.
After the eruption, all that remained of round Santorini was the horse-shoe shaped island we know today. The island was covered in a layer of volcanic ash 30-40 metres deep. Eruptions persisted in the 3rd century BC when the island of Therasia was severed from Santorini, and in the 2nd century BC when the volcanic islet Palaia Kameni began to appear in the bay. In 1707, eruptions caused Nea Kameni to appear. Mild vibrations are often felt on the island, but in 1950 a severe earthquake produced considerable devestation in Fira and Oia, and many of the houses along the cliffs were destroyed.
New archaeological discoveries by a team of international scientists in 2006 have showed that the Santorini event was much more massive than previously thought. It expelled 61 cubic kilometres of magma and rock into Earth's atmosphere contrasted to previous estimates of only 39 cubic kilometres in 1991. Only the Mount Tambora volcanic eruption of 1815 (and possibly the eruption at Lake Taupo of 181 CE) released more material into the atmosphere in the past 5,000 years at an estimated 100 cubic kilometres.
You can still see evidence of this today, but in many places it has added to the interesting maze of architecture that retains to the cliff face.
The amazing dry climate and continuous sunshine create year around conditions which are perfect for watching, photographs and videos under an extraordinary variety of natural lights and colours that give the visitor the exceptional advantage of reaching the interior of the volcano by boat.