Santorini Volcano and its Plumbing System

Santorini Volcano is an outstanding natural laboratory for studying arc volcanism, having had twelve Plinian eruptions over the last 350,000 years, at least four of which caused caldera collapse. Periods between Plinian eruptions are characterized by intra-caldera edifice construction and lower intensity explosive activity. The Plinian eruptions are fed from magma reservoirs at 4–8 km depth that are assembled over several centuries prior to eruption by the arrival of high-flux magma pulses from deeper in the sub-caldera reservoir. Unrest in 2011–2012 involved intrusion of two magma pulses at about 4 km depth, suggesting that the behaviour of the modern-day volcano is similar to the behaviour of the volcano prior to Plinian eruptions. Emerging understanding of Santorini’s plumbing system will enable better risk mitigation at this highly hazardous volcano.

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