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Santorini, Greece GPS Network Installations and Upgrades

  • Principal Investigator:
    Dr. Andrew Newman, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • UNAVCO Engineer: Sarah Doelger
  • Dates: August 21 – September 6, 2011
  • Location: Santorini, Greece
  • Funding Source: The National Science Foundation

Written by Sarah Doelger


Santorini is one of a group of five islands belonging to a partially submerged caldera in the Aegean Sea. The volcanic system responsible for the formation of the caldera is currently still active and last erupted in 1950.

Two relatively young and small islands, Palea and Nea Kameni, lie in the center of the caldera. These are bordered to the north, east, and south by the sweeping half-moon of Santorini Island (Thira) and to the north west by Thirasia. Both of these islands are products of the massive caldera-forming eruption that occurred around 1650 B.C.


Dr. Andy Newman from The Georgia Institute of Technology, with UNAVCO Project Manager Jim Normandeau and Stathis Stiros from the University of Patras, first installed three CGPS around the caldera in 2006. In addition, they conducted a campaign survey of 18 sites around the 5 islands.

In late summer of 2011, UNAVCO again supported the installation of two new CGPS as well as upgrades to the existing three sites. Graduate students from Georgia Tech and the University of Patras resurveyed the 18 campaign benchmarks in addition to establishing more new sites.

The data gathered from these stations will be critical to establishing deformation rates and monitoring any continuing volcanic activity within the caldera.

A Different Kind of Field Work

Field work on Santorini certainly has its logistical challenges. Many GPS sites have to be accessed by boat and require travelling over rough terrain. However, working at the caldera (Thira especially) is unique in that it is a major vacation destination.

The impressive geologic setting is overlaid by postcard quality whitewashed homes and people sipping drinks in cafes overlooking the water. It is an infrequent field trip where a day's work can be followed by a dip in the ocean and the major threat to site security is tourist curiosity.

Links and Resources

Related Highlight:
Project Highlights 2006 - Santorini, Greece Permanent Stations »


Last modified: 2020-02-03  20:49:06  America/Denver