Greek Geologist to Discuss Volcanic Activity

Dr. Spyros Pavlides, geologist and dean of the Faculty of Sciences at Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, Greece, will present a lecture on geodynamic characteristics and volcanic activity in the southern Aegean Sea as part of a weeklong visit to The University of Alabama.

The lecture, “The Southern Aegean Volcanic Arc, The Volcano of Santorini and the Minoan Civilization,” will take place March 21 at 3 p.m. in room 205 of Smith Hall. It is free and open to the public.

Pavlides’ visit is part of the Alabama Greece Initiative, begun in 2010 by UA’s College of Arts and Sciences to develop a collaborative relationship with Aristotle University, one of Greece’s major research universities. During his visit, Pavlides will tour the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and Moundville Archeological Park, as well as meet with UA faculty.

In his talk, Pavlides will describe the geodynamic characteristics of the southern Aegean Sea and discuss volcanic activity on the Nisyros, Milos and Methana volcanoes, emphasizing the structure and activity of the volcanic edifice of Thera-Santorini. He will present images of volcanic structures of the walls of the caldera and active volcanic centers of historical eruptions. He will also describe the largest volcanic eruption of the last 5,000 years, the Minoan of 1613 B.C.

“There is a debate on the consequences of that explosion in the wonderful culture of the Bronze Age that was developed both in Thera and Crete, known as Minoan civilization,” he said. “The question that arises, consequently, is, to what extent did this biblical disaster affect this great civilization?”

Pavlides holds degrees in natural sciences, geology and a doctorate in neotectonics. He has studied active faults and earthquake ground deformation in several areas of Greece, as well as in Albania, Bulgaria, Italy, northern China, Taiwan and the western Anatolia portion of Turkey. His research focuses on geodynamics and seismotectonics, especially in the broader Aegean Region, volcano tectonics of the volcano Santorini, structural geology and paleoseismology. — from