Minoan Eruption – Atlantis, Biblical Flood

Satellite view of the caldera created by the Minoan 1630 BCE Explosion on the island of Thera (now Santorini). The subsequent volcanic dome is visible in the caldera basin.
Abundant geological and archaeological evidence probably explains the origin of the biblical flood myth, the Legend of Atlantis, perhaps the destruction of Troy VI, and the widespread fear of the sea in ancient Mediterranean myths.

Layers of volcanic material in the cliffs around the Santorini CalderaAround 1630 BC, the volcanic island of Thera (now Santorini, sometimes called Strongphyle) blew itself to pieces in a massive Krakatoa-like eruption. The Plinian* volcanic explosion “may have been one of the biggest volcanic eruptions on Earth in the last few thousand years” [s].

Volcanoes rain fire and brimstone on nearby cities. They also drop volcanic bombs (pillars of salt – yes, it does look a bit rude. Lot's wife?).

The Santorini caldera has abundant evidence of repeated volcanic activity prior to the eruption that buried Bronze Age Akrotiri in ash— just as Vesuvius* buried Pompeii and Herculaneum.

(animation of the eruption here. It is inaccurate in so far as the pre-eruption island was a volcanic cone and not yet a caldera.)

The earthquake, eruption, and resultant tsunami disrupted the nearby Minoan civilization**, so it is called the Minoan Eruption. The tsunami would have struck all around the eastern Mediterranean, including the Nile delta***. (impact.) Anyone who saw the footage of the recent Indian Ocean tsunami (Boxing Day, Sunday 26th December 2004) knows that the sea recedes, then wave after enormous wave strikes.

The Nile Delta would have dried and then have been repeatedly inundated.

Sound like any myths that you have heard of?

The explosion of Thera could also explain dramatic shifts in the course of the Nile. Some Nile-side cities had to be relocated because the river suddenly abandoned them as a result of silting. A famous relocation (Pi-Ramesses) post-dated the Minoan Eruption.

Location of the Minoan Explosion directly adjacent to Crete, Greece, Troy, and with an unimpeded course to the Nile Delta.
Compilation of videos:

(If you are ever on a beach and the water recedes, head for the hills!)

We moderns understand that this horror resulted from the phenomenon of plate tectonics. Around the Mediterranean, Bronze Age people would understandably have thought that their gods were furious. The event would certainly have been passed down in oral traditions in countries bordering the Mediterranean. It explains why Greek mythology became so dark, it explains terror of the sea in Bronze Age myths, it explains the fairy tale of the Biblical Flood. It explains so much.

* named for Pliny the Elder, who died during the eruption of Vesuvius

** Protopalatial Minoan Crete (~1900 - ~1700 BCE)

*** the Hebrew phrase in Exodus is Yam Suph, meaning Reed Sea (Red Sea is a mistranslation). Its location is uncertain.

painting of the 1833 eruption of Krakatoa


Oriented x4 said...

Great explanation. I hope you don't mind, but I've added a link to this on my blog.

You do realize, however, that Fundies are going to question your theory because it doesn't explain the Grand Canyon.

Arcanum said...

Thanks, Ox4.

Luckily, Arizona was a long way from the quake, fallout, and tsunami. (Even though P waves can pass through the core, and S waves can propagate half-way around the globe, they are too diminished to effect anything over those distances.) But you already knew that ;}

Happily, orogenic uplift and downcutting explains the Grand Canyon.

Ha! Being 'questioned' by fundies is a great compliment. It's like having Satan say "You've led a boring life. You aren't coming to my party!"

Even better, it's like having God *not* say, "You can come to my party. You can have a boring eternity."