Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


10 June 2012

Palaeomagnetic Results From Minoan Ash Deposits (Rv Vema) Cores V10-50 And V10-58 South Aegean Sea: A Comparison With Santorini Minoan Pumice Deposits

W.S. Downey The Mediterranean Archaeology & Archaeometry 11:2 (2011): 151-168.


Palaeomagnetic and anisotropy measurements were carried out on Minoan ash deposits obtained from the deepsea cores, (V1050 and V1058), South Aegean Sea. Three distinct layers have been reported within the ash deposit in core (V1050). Based primarily on grainsize differences, a link to three separate eruptive phases of Santorini has been suggested. Magnetic results were unable to resolve any differences between these layers which suggests that the eruption may have been a ‘single event’. Some magnetic parameters indicate that the final ignimbrite phase of the eruption of Santorini is most likely to have been responsible for the bulk of the deepsea ash deposits, although a contribution from the first phase (phreatomagmatic and/or Plinian airfall) cannot be excluded. Anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility measurements indicate a primary sedimentary fabric and quiet depositional conditions for V1050 ash sediment. A more disturbed petrofabric is observed for V1058 suggesting, bottom current activity and/or slumping. The mean palaeomagnetic inclination calculated from appropriate V1050 results is:60.2° ± 4.3° (corrected for anisotropy and geographical location differences of sites). This is statistically identical to values obtained for burnt mud brick from destruction sites in eastern Crete but different to the mean palaeomagnetic inclination obtained for central Cretan sites. A comparison with the secular variation (inclination) data for the Balkan region and for Greece, suggests that the eruption/s of Santorini occurred in the period between ~1540 and 1500 BC.

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