The Caldera

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The Caldera of Santorini is one of the most spectacular gifts nature has thankfully given to the world. Millions of people from all over the globe have come to Santorini just to see this breathtaking spectacle with their own eyes and to admire it. Literally, it is like a miracle when the Caldera gets painted in the colors of the sunset as the sun sinks far into the sea.

The Caldera was created around 3.600 years ago, when the volcano of Santorini gave one of the largest eruptions of all times (about 1613 BC.). Since then, it has maintained approximately the same shape, although subsequent eruptions and seismic vibrations have caused some of its more flimsy parts to recede.

Many of the villages of Santorini that attract a significant number of tourists every summer lie at the edge of the Caldera today, such as the island’s capital, Fira, Oia and Imerovigli. In addition, there are several impressive volcanic beaches and ports of Santorini at the foot of it.

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Literally, “caldera” means caldron and is a Spanish word. Science of Geology uses it to refer to the soil cavity formed when a part of a volcano recedes or when its inner walls erode. The Caldera of Santorini is considered as one of the most characteristic examples as it emerged when, during the Minoan eruption in 1613 BC., the biggest part of Stroggyli island sank, creating what now is called the island of Santorini, Thirassia and Aspronisi – the three islands that are basically its perimeter. Nowadays, in the center of the Caldera of Santorini there are two small volcanic islands, Palaia Kameni and Nea Kameni, created by the subsequent eruptions of the volcano, which means they are islands of frozen volcanic lava.

The diameter of the Santorini Caldera is 16 km, while its highest point is in Imerovigli, at 330 m altitude. According to experts, its most authentic form today is in Thirasia, as Santorini’s tourism development and residential activity have interfered with the landscape. In the Caldera of Thirassia, however, and especially at Cape Tripiti, someone can admire one of the most impressive volcanic rock formations, a point that looks like the lava freezes once it covers the rocks.

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