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Short and Long Term Consequence


Geological data supports regional effects severe enough to cripple trade in the Aegean following the eruption of Thera during the Late Bronze Age. Such effects include possible climate change producing a temperature decrease of about 0.5 degree celsius, due to the injection of ash into high altitudes, dispersal of ash over vast distances, additional seismic activity and pumice rafts which dispersed pumice via ocean currents. Such rafts are substantiated by pumice accumulations in coastal deposits throughout the eastern Mediterranean and Aegean. But most striking of all the regional effects was the generation of tsunami waves (McCoy, Heiken, 2000).

McCoy and Heiken suggest that wave heights exceeded 40m with runup distance reaching up to eleven miles in the coastal settlements. They estimate the volcanic plume reached heights of up to 36km. These heights, in association with the high sulfur content, suggest that one consequence of the eruption would have been global cooling that lasting several years.

Artist rendering of the Thera Eruption-Induced Tsunami Approaching the Coast of Crete

tsunami-crete.jpg
http://www.explorecrete.com/archaeology/minoan-civilization-destruction.html
The videos below support the position that pumice from Thera is found on Crete at the Palace of Knossos. They also provides an interesting model of the tsunami caused by the Thera eruption and the impact on Crete as the island is hit by several sequential tsunami waves.




While it is clear that the Thera eruption didn't immediately wipe out the the Minoan civilization, it did weaken them physically and emotionally, leaving them vulnerable to Mycenaean encroachment. Indications of a subtle shift in Minoan culture are evident as new artistic styles draw on the power of the ocean, and sea monsters assume a prominent place on ritual vases. This emerging marine style becomes incorporated into the Minoan religion and a culture once considered peaceful takes on a darker persona. Ritualistic sacrifices have been found in the Palace at Knossos, perhaps suggesting the Minoans had begun searching for reason in a world turned on end and were attempting to appease what they perceived as angry gods.
Knosses001.jpg
Human Bones from a Late Minoan IB House at Knossos S. M. Wall, J. H. Musgrave, P. M. Warren
The diagram above catalogs a "Room of Children's Bones" where a minimum of four murdered children were found intermingled in a burnt destruction layer, along with ritual vases which may indicate the desperation the Minoans felt following the great natural disasters set in motion by the Thera eruption. It is believed that the Minoan culture changed after the tsunamis with a movement away from their traditional structure and organization, weakening the priest-kings and allowing the Minoan society to both deteriorate from within and become susceptible to intrusion from without.
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