[b-hebrew] Thera quote

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Thu Aug 26 17:32:04 EDT 2004

On 26/08/2004 20:09, Karl Randolph wrote:

>Secondly, how big was the Theran eruption? Ash falls of 100 feet indicate that it could have been huge, or was it a continuous, simmering eruption like the continuing one in Hawaii that laid the ash over many years, even decades? If the latter, it is possible that it left little to almost no record in tree ring or glacier stratigraphic records.

No, it wasn't like this. There are two main kinds of volcanic eruption, 
the gentle lava flow type like Hawaii, and the powerful explosive type 
like Mount St. Helens. Thera was certainly the latter, but on a very 
much larger scale. There is plenty of geological evidence.

But then there could have been a huge explosion which didn't leave much 
record in tree rings or glaciers. The climatic variations are triggered 
by specific factors which may not have been characteristic of Thera. For 
example, they depend on huge quantities of material being blown into the 
upper atmosphere, but that might not have happened if Thera blew out 
sideways rather than upwards as Mount St. Helens did. And they are also 
dependent on the exact chemical composition; some chemicals might warm 
the atmosphere rather than cool it.

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

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