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Magma below Greek volcano grows

Oxford, England, Sep 12 (): A team of researchers said molten rock under Greece’s Santorini volcano is pooling and has expanded about 300 million-700 million cubic feet from 2011 January through 2012 April.

The team from Oxford University said growth of magma has lifted up the surface of Santorini, in Aegean Sea. Greece’s Santorini volcano is one among the largest volcanic eruptions in past 10,000 years. The eruption that took place 3,600 years ago has wiped out Minoan civilization of Greek islands.

In January 2011, series of mild earthquakes began underneath Santorini and its adjacent islands, which is the first signal of activity underneath the volcano to be found for nearly 25 years, researchers said.

The researchers used radar and global positioning structures to map changes happening on the islands.

Juliet Biggs from Bristol University said that people were aware about the happening underneath the volcano until they saw the changes clearly in GPS and uplift on radar images which showed that molten rock was being added at such shallow level underneath the volcano.

Although the volume of the molten rock which has arrived underneath Santorini for the past year is equal to about 10-20 years development of the volcano, it does not mean an eruption may happen, researchers said, the real fact is the rate of the earthquake activity has considerably dropped down in the past few months.

This volcano’s eruptions have been frequent and small, with 3 eruptions happening in 20th century, the last in 1950.

Santorini is also known for its catastrophic eruptions, which occurred in BC 1650 wiping out Minoan civilization. It created huge tsunami waves about 40 feet tall that devastated the civilization living around Aegean Sea. Most of islands of Santorini was submerged or destroyed.

Viewing from air, resulting volcanic crater or caldera appears as small clusters surrounded by the larger collections of the Greek islands in Aegean Sea. Such type of disastrous eruption occurs once in 10,000 to 30,000 years.