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Home > Catalogue > Fire in the Sea
Fire in the Sea


  • 163 colour illus. 3 tables
  • Page extent: 272 pages
  • Size: 276 x 219 mm
  • Weight: 1.239 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 551.21/09495/85
  • Dewey version: 21
  • LC Classification: QE523.S27 F65 2000
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Santorini Volcano (Greece)--Eruptions
    • Geology--Greece--Thera Island Region
    • Volcanism--Greece--Thera Island Region
    • Minoans
    • Civilization, Aegean

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521652902 | ISBN-10: 0521652901)

DOI: 10.2277/0521652901

  • Published May 2000

Unavailable - out of print April 2007

 (Stock level updated: 17:00 GMT, 30 November 2015)


When the Greek island of Santorini, or Thera, erupted dramatically in the seventeenth or sixteenth century BC, it produced one of the largest explosions ever witnessed by humankind. The event covered Bronze Age settlements on the island with volcanic ash, and altered the course of civilisation in the region, possibly giving rise to the legend of Atlantis. Fire in the Sea blends the thrill of scientific discovery with a popular presentation of the geology, archaeology, history, peoples and environmental setting of Santorini. It is a case study of a natural disaster that will fire the imagination. Excellent colour photographs and illustrations along with easily understandable scientific and historic details make this book highly appealing to a wide audience. It will also be useful as a supplementary text for introductory courses in earth and atmospheric science, geology, volcanology, palaeoclimatology, as well as ancient history and archaeology.

• Describes a catastrophic event in classical history of interest to the general public • Beautifully illustrated full-colour book • Engagingly written, telling the story of a possible Atlantis


Preface; Acknowledgements; Introduction; Part I. The Geological Framework: 1. The geography of Santorini; 2. Santorini and the puzzle of plate tectonics; 3. The geological development of Santorini; 4. Stratigraphy - the backbone of the geology; 5. Plant remains and geological time; Part II. The Minoan Eruption and its Effects: 6. The mechanism of the Minoan eruption; 7. When did the catastrophe occur?; Part III. The Volcano Releases its Secret: 8. A bronze-age Pompeii; 9. What was living on the island during the bronze age?; 10. An idea takes hold; 11. Geological observations and the legend of Atlantis; Part IV. The Island is Changing its Appearance: 12. The caldera is filling again; 13. Volcanism today; 14. Present and future changes of the island; Bibliography; Appendices.


'This book, with its clear text and superb illustrations, is a suitable geological complement to the lavishly illustrated publications of Santorini's archaeological remains. Those wishing to place those remains in a physical context will find it most rewarding.' John Bennet, The Times Higher Education Supplement

'Where the book really excels is that all facets seem to have been treated with comparable, if not equal, authority. The geology is dealt with thoroughly … Historical and archaeological evidence is thoroughlt integrated and the whole forms a coherent story … excellent photographs and clear diagrams … The science is clear and thorough but not condescending and the author conveys thorough knowledge and enthusiasm for the region … an excellent read for anyone contemplating a visit to any volcanic island and would be essential preparation for a visit to Santorini. It is the sort of book one would return to … excellent value.' Bulletin of the British Ecological Society

' … Santorini exploded in 1600 BC producing one of the largest explosions ever witnessed by humans. The story of why it blew - and the consequences - is superbly detailed and illustrated in Friedrich's book.' Douglas Palmer, Focus Magazine

'Fire in the Seas gives an excellent account of the archaeological and geological history of Santorini … [it] could be used in an introductory course of geology, but it is written for a far wider audience. Its lavish color photographs, drawings and computer graphics will have broad appeal. Anyone who is interested in earth science, history or archaeology will find an abundance of information about Santorini and about modern methods of geological and archaeological research.' Svend Erik Rasmussen, Geologisk Institut, Aarhus

'… a lavishly illustrated book about the volcanic explosion of the Greek island of Santorini … a painstaking account … The photographs and diagrams are truly enlightening … a genuine education in the enormous power of the Earth to shake up the landscape.' National Geographic 'Adventure'

'… a handsome book that tells a fascinating story.' Dr Richard A. F. Grieve, Episodes

'Fire in the Sea deals with all major aspects of the history of Santorini from the perspective of science and scholarship. … However, this is much more than a geology book … The book is beautifully produced and illustrated with outstanding colour diagrams and photographs, and is also well written, making it a very pleasing book to read and own. … Walter Friedrich's book is the broadest and most accessible contribution. It is beautifully illustrated, clearly written and I can strongly recommend it to both professional geologists and the wider world.' R. S. J. Sparks, Geological Magazine

'… a fascinating account of geological and historical aspects of this jewel of the Aegean, the island of Santorini.' Sigurour Steinpórsson, Jökull

'If you are looking for a book to add distinction to your coffee table, this one is a good choice … handsomely produced, beautifully laid out, lavishly illustrated with carefully chosen photographs … and crammed with information boxes, diagrams and tables.' History Now

'… arguably the best general scientific introduction to one of the most significant volcanic eruptions known, and would make an excellent companion for any geologist or archaeologist (amateur or professional) travelling to the beautiful Cycladic island itself.' Clive Oppenheimer, Earth-Science Reviews

' … a popular book that makes science accessible, and proves that true accounts can be better than fiction.' Journal of Hellenic Studies

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