Volcanic ash and tsunami record of the Minoan Late Bronze Age Eruption (Santorini) in a distal setting, southwestern Turkey

AYDAR E. , Ciner A., ERSOY O. , Ecochard E., Fouache E. G.

JOURNAL OF QUATERNARY SCIENCE, 2021 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume:
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1002/jqs.3314


We present the volcanic ash and tsunami record of the Minoan Late Bronze Age Eruption of Santorini (LBAES) in a distal setting in southwestern Turkey. In one of the drilled cores at the Letoon Hellenic antique site on Esencay Delta, we encountered a 4 cm thick tephra deposit underlain by 46 cm thick tsunami-deposited sand (tsunamite), and an organic-rich layer that we C-14 dated to 3295 +/- 30 bp or 1633 bc. The relationship between Santorini distal volcanic ash and underlying tsunamite is described and interpreted. LBAES occurred in four main phases: (1) plinian; (2) phreatomagmatic; (3) phreatomagmatic with mudflows; and (4) ignimbritic flows and co-ignimbrite tephra falls. In this study, we aim to understand which eruptive phases generate distal ash during the Minoan eruptive sequence by examining the 3D surface morphology of ash formed by different fragmentation processes. To that end, we used numerous statistical multivariates, 3D fractal dimension of roughness, and a new textural parameter of surface area-3D/plotted area-2D to characterise the eruption dynamics. Based on ash surface morphologies and the calculated statistical parameters, we propose that that distal ash is represented by a single layer composed of well-mixed (coarse to fine) magmatic and phreatomagmatic ash.