Geomorphological characteristics of the onshore/offshore volcanic edifices with respect to their evolutionary stage in the South Aegean Sea, Greece.
Abstract:Volcanism in the South Aegean Sea first occurred about 3-4 million years ago, along four different volcanic island groups, including both onshore and recently discovered offshore volcanoes: 1) Starting from the west, the Methana group consists of the Methana stratovolcano, composed exclusively of volcaniclastics and lavas, creating cones and domes onland and the Paphsanias submarine cone in the Epidavros tectonic graben, bordered by E-W normal faults. It has a 2 km basal diameter at 400 m depth and its top rises to 150 m. 2) The Milos-Antimilos group consists of volcanic domes and calderas onland and three submarine domes to the east of Antimilos. A hydrothermal vent field is limited in the SE coastal zone of Milos, 3) The Santorini group consists of: (i) the older volcanic cones of Christianna islets and three submarine domes east of them, (ii) Santorini volcano which during the last 500 ka experienced repeated caldera collapses following Plinian eruptions and edifice rebuilding, represented by the growth of the Kamenes islands after the last catastrophic Late Bronze age eruption. (iii) a chain of about twenty submarine volcanic domes and craters in the Kolumbo zone northeast of Santorini. Kolumbo volcano is a 3 km diameter cone with a 1500 m wide crater, a crater rim as shallow as 18 m depth and a flat crater floor at 505 m depth containing an active hydrothermal vent field degassing 99% of CO2. 4) The Kos-Nisyros group at the eastern edge of the Hellenic Volcanic arc, comprises several domes and craters offshore and Nisyros volcano consists exclusively of alternating lava and pyroclastic deposits following several phases of reconstruction and caldera collapse. The rhyodacitic domes of Profitis Ilias are the latest evolutionary stage of Nisyros volcano which disrupted a pre-existed caldera and may be regarded as an earlier reconstruction phase similar to the Kameni islands at Santorini.
The volcanic relief reaches 1100-1200 m in most cases. This is produced from the outcrops of the volcanic centers emerging usually at 400-600 m depth and ending either below sea level or at high altitudes of 600-700 m on the islands. All volcanic edifices are located within neotectonic grabens formed by normal faulting, sometimes overprinted by subvertical strike-slip structures.