GeoEye-1 Satellite Image (0.5 m) – Santorini, Greece
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Santorini is a volcanic island located in the southern Aegean Sea, about 200 km (120 mi) southeast from Greece’s mainland. It is the largest island of a small, circular archipelago which bears the same name.The municipality of Santorini is composed of the islands of Santorini, Therasia, and the uninhabited islands of Nea Kameni, Palaia Kameni, Aspronisi, and Christiana.
Santorini is essentially what remains of an enormous volcanic explosion, destroying the earliest settlements on what was formerly a single island, and leading to the creation of the current geological caldera. A giant central lagoon, more or less rectangular, and measuring about 12 by 7 km (7.5 by 4.3 mi), is surrounded by 300 m (980 ft) high steep cliffs on three sides. The island slopes downward from the cliffs to the surrounding Aegean Sea. On the fourth side, the lagoon is separated from the sea by another much smaller island called Therasia; the lagoon merges with the sea in two places, in the northwest and southwest. The island’s harbours all lie in the lagoon and there are no ports on the outer perimeter of the island; the capital, Fira, clings to the top of the cliff looking down on the lagoon.
The region first became volcanically active around 3–4 million years ago though volcanism on Thera began around 2 million years ago with the extrusion of dacitic lavas from vents around the region of Akrotiri.
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