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Do Natural Disasters Impact

Economy and Culture? 

Technological tools abound in the scientist's modern arsenal, and yet meteorologist, climatologists and geologist are still often at the mercy of nature's power and unpredictability. Despite our intelligence, we humans persist in putting ourselves in harm's way. We continue to build on fault lines, near flood plains, and on hurricane prone beaches. Perhaps examining nature's impact on past cultures could lead to a better understanding of the risks we take in our desire to live in disaster prone, albeit beautiful and economically advantageous, locations.
Whether volcanic activity in the Aegean was a factor in the downfall of the Minoan civilization has been the subject of much spirited debate since Professor Sp. Marinatos first suggested the possibility in 1967. This wiki supports the hypothesis that natural disasters centering around the eruption of Thera in approximately 1630 BC disrupted a flourishing trade industry in the Aegean and set the stage for the decline of the Minoan Civilization.
Recent underwater study focused on the scope of Thera's eruption suggests that the extent of the blast was far larger than previously believed. Such overwhelming devastation was a key factor in the economic decline of the Minoan civilization. The destruction created by earthquakes preceding and tsunamis following the eruption made recovery a monumental task and represents a plausible explanation for the subtle cultural shift seen on neighboring Crete in the two centuries leading up to the abrupt appearance of a Mycenaean presence on the island in approximately 1450 BC.
This video produced by National Geographic chronicles Dr. Robert Ballard's exploration of the stratigraphy and debris field created by the Thera volcano, highlighting the force of the explosion which shot up to 14 cubic miles of magma into the sky.

This eruption over 3,600 years ago triggered a devastating chain of events including massive tsunamis and ash fallout which may have darkened the skies for up to 115,000 miles.

Forces of this magnitude generate both short and long term consequences for neighboring civilizations, disrupting trade, destroying economic structures, and shaking the very foundation of long held belief systems.


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