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Volcano alarms for Santorini

- by John Swift

Volcano alarms for Santorini.

Volcano watchers plan to plant more sensitive seismographs to check earthquake 'rumbles' on the holiday island of Santorini. They are to install new earthquake detecting instruments on the islet of Kameni in the caldera, along mountain ridges and on a beach.The sulfurous fumes that linger in the air around Santorini help to create highly colourful sunsets that are a major tourist attraction.

But in recent weeks the characteristic rotten egg smell typical of sulfur has been particularly intense.

Scientists now think that magma rising from the bottom of the volcano is increasing pressure on the cone of the crater, which is the islet of on Kameni that lies in the centre of the Santorini caldera.

The rate of low intensity quakes in the region has been increasing and this may be explained by rising magma, say scientists.

The volcanic caldera of Santorini is unique. The crescent of Santorini, Thirasia and Aspronisi form a circle around the caldera, which is the largest in the world.

The volcano has been credited with at least 12 major eruptions. The eruption 3,500 years ago is considered the strongest occurring in recorded history and is believed to have wiped out the Minoan civilization in Crete.

The islets of Nea Kameni and Palea Kameni were formed by underwater eruptions about 400 years ago. The last big eruption was in 1950.

There are three active volcanoes in this area of the Greek Islands at Milos, Santorini and Nisyros. Santorini islandis the most visited of all three islands, a major tourist holiday island and a regular port of call for travel cruise ships.