Greek tourist island rules out volcano fears

The Greek tourist island of Santorini on Tuesday said fears of a volcanic eruption after a magma buildup recorded by scientists last year were unfounded as geological activity had returned to normal.

?The phenomenon of magma flux took part mainly between January 2011 and April 2012,? the local council said in a statement.

?Since then, intense micro-seismic activity accompanying the magma flux is in full decline,? the council said.

?Any concern regarding the behaviour of the Santorini volcano is unfounded,? the statement said, adding that teams of scientists were constantly monitoring its activity.

The local council was reacting to a publication in Nature Geoscience journal earlier this week which said that a balloon of magma had built up under the island, raising its surface by 8-14 centimetres (3-5.5 inches).

?This volume is equivalent to 10-15 percent of the volumes of recorded dome-forming eruptions,? the journal said.

Santorini, renowned for its beautiful sunsets and picturesque villages perched on rocky outcrops, is one of Greece?s most popular travel destinations.

The island was completely reshaped by a volcanic eruption in the late 17th century that wiped out a culturally advanced Minoan colony, and geothermal activity accompanied by seismic tremors remains high to this day.

The last major eruption of the most active part of the volcano, beneath the uninhabited black lava islet of Kameni near Santorini, occurred in 1950. [AFP]

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