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Santorini Volcano: Civil Protection issues Emergency Response Plan

Greece’s Civil Protection has prepared a Emergency Response Plan due to a risk for the activation of the volcano on the island of Santorini in the central Aegean Sea. Purpose of the 184-page master plan with code name THALOS is to provide a direct and coordinated response to involved stakeholders at central, regional and local level.

“TALOS” assumes that “the occurrence of volcanic activity in the Santorini volcanic complex can cause:

  • Injuries and loss of life and a sense of insecurity of the citizen”
  • Indirect financial losses from disasters on citizens’ property, in the primary sector (agriculture, livestock breeding), on various infrastructures of the country (electricity, telecommunications networks, etc.), and on the impact on tourism in general. “

The plan indicates the need for increased preparedness “in view of the imminent danger of volcanic activity” and outlines reactivation scenarios. Based on scientific studies, the eruption danger of the Santorini volcanic complex is real. The state mechanism has taken into account the alert level designation set by the Hellenic Observatory’s Standing Monitoring Committee. The report of this committee, which describes the reactivation scenarios, detailed risks and their spatial distribution, builds on the framework of action of all departments involved in the event of volcanic activity in the area.

Although dormant, Santorini is an active volcano. Numerous minor and medium-sized, mainly effusive, eruptions have built the dark-colored lava shields of Nea and Palea Kameni inside the caldera. Their last eruption was in 1950. Second volcano Kolumbo erupted in 1650 and is currently the most active and potentially dangerous volcano in the Aegean Sea.

Plan THALOS

The plan with code name “Thalos” is prepared to give an effective response to emergencies from the occurrence of Volcanic Activity and the immediate management of its consequences, the health and property of the citizens, as well as the protection of the natural environment, wealth sources and infrastructure of the country.

According to scientific studies, the risk of volcano activation is real.

The plan starts with the assumption that a volcanic action in Santorini can cause injuries and loss of life and a sense of insecurity.

It may also cause damage to infrastructure in the country with direct and indirect economic losses to citizens’ property, as well as consequences for tourism.

“Direct and indirect financial losses from disasters on citizens’ property, in the primary sector (agriculture, livestock breeding), on various infrastructures of the country (electricity, telecommunications networks, etc.), and on the impact on tourism in general. “

Increased readiness is noted “in view of the imminent danger of volcanic activity in the Santorini volcanic complex, taking into account the alert level designation set by the Standing Forensic Science Committee. FIFTH)” the plan notes among others..

“Increased surveillance”

A network of dozens of physical and chemical parameters such as temperature and chemical composition of hot water and vapor, seismic activity, sea level, gravitational and magnetic field, etc. have been set up to predict future eruptions. The recording of any phenomenon will be a warning of a possible reactivation of the volcano.

Since 2011 significant changes have been recorded in the monitored sizes (seismic, topographic deformation, thermal state and chemistry of hot fluids and soil gases).

In any case, the project, “TALOS”, begins with the following assumptions: “The occurrence of volcanic activity in the Santorini volcanic complex can cause: • Injuries and loss of life and a sense of insecurity of the citizen.” indirect financial losses from disasters on citizens’ property, in the primary sector (agriculture, livestock breeding), on various infrastructures of the country (electricity, telecommunications networks, etc.), and on the impact on tourism in general. ”

The volcanic complex of Santorini includes two active volcanic resources: the Kameni volcanic resource located on the land of the island with the same name between Thira and Thirasia and the submarine volcanic resource of Kolumbo, approximately 8.5. kilometers northeast of the cape on the northeast end of the island of Thira.

The last eruption in the Kameni volcanic resource occurred in 1939 AD. This eruption also includes the small residual eruption that occurred in 1950 AD. Similarly, the last eruption in the volcanic canal of Columbus occurred in 1650 AD. However, from January 2011 to approximately March 2013 in Santorini a seismic upheaval was observed accompanied by deformation of the earth’s crust.

There are two main scenarios of reactivation of the volcano given that since 2011 some significant changes have been recorded in the monitored sizes (seismicity, topographic deformation, thermal state and chemistry of hot fluids and soil gases).

The changes in the recordings of the installed monitoring networks were outside the limits defined as ‘normal state’ of the Kameni volcanic center and the wider caldera area.

“Based on the type and intensity of the changes recorded by the installed networks, it is currently estimated that the volcanic center of Kameni is in the initial phase of the ‘surveillance’ phase (yellow), according to the classification of international volcano hazard and alarm systems.” .

Statistically it is very likely that the volcano will return to normal. But it is also possible that the volcanic crisis will lead to an irreversible course and some or more re-activation of the volcanic center of the Kamena line will occur.

“The change in the thermal state of the space and the movement of hydrothermal fluids is confirmed by the changes in the chemical composition of the vapor gases of Nea Kameni, where the marked increase in the release of hydrogen and carbon dioxide (in multiples of the (volcano) is interpreted as intense thermal reflection. Also, the concentration of the vast majority of the seismic events of 2011 along the ‘Kameni Line’, the area along which the resources of all underwater and terrestrial intra-caldera historical volcanic events, and the existence of ‘seismic events’ indicates the same.”

The reactivation scenarios of the Santorini volcano are based on two typical eruptions: a sub-plane (Extreme scenario) and a more typical, volcanic type (Probable scenario), corresponding to the most well known historical eruptions. These explosions are associated with corresponding intensities (seismic vibrations, volcanic ash and gases, etc.).

sources: ,  ethnos, protothema, cnngreece, amna, news247

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