Research of the submarine eruption centers around Methana

Submarine volcanism north of Methana peninsula

Aerial view of the historic volcano that erupted 270 B.C. (c) Tobias Schorr
Aerial view of the historic volcano that erupted 270 B.C. (c) Tobias Schorr

The Saronic gulf and its volcanoes are an result of the subduction of the African plate below the plate of Europe and little Asia. The Methana volcanoes are the north west part of the active Aegean arc and the youngest volcanic eruptions are probably the submarine ones that are under research.The first signs of submarine volcanics have been discovered in 1987 at the north coast of Methana peninsula. The ancient writer Pausanias was writing about "hot springs" after volcanic eruptions. Until now we mostly were thinking that he mentioned the historic eruption in 270 B.C. but after the new discoveries much younger volcanism is possible.There is an ongoing research program on the submarine volcanic centers between Angistri island and Methana peninsula. The corporation between the German geologists K. Haase & C. Beier (Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen) and the Greek geologist Paraskevi Nomikou (Kapodistrias University Athens) has the target to find out the composition and age of the volcanic rocks and when there have been the last volcanic activities. The research vessel R/V Poseidon will help to map the submarine ground around Methana and to create a detailed map. The submarine robot (ROV) PHOCA is collecting rock samples for dating the volcanics. Until today, more than 200 rock samples have been collected. They show that there may have been submarine eruptions at different times. There are about 6 eruption centers which some are covered by sediments (older than 20.000 years) and others being relatively fresh and uncovered. They may have erupted even in historic times. The volcanism has not stopped yet in this region and future volcanic activity is possible. There is still a lot of research to be done, because there are pumice covered areas on the cape Kalo Koumbaro which may be relatively young. The ages of all Methana rocks have to be researched to find out, how often the Methana volcano erupts and to understand its circles of activity to predict future eruptions.

The submarine robot (ROV) PHOCA of the marine research center "GEOMAR Helmholtz" (c) Christoph Beier FAU
The submarine robot (ROV) PHOCA of the marine research center "GEOMAR Helmholtz" (c) Christoph Beier FAU
c) Christoph Beier FAU
c) Christoph Beier FAU
Volcanic rock sample from the sea floor that is similar to the dacites of Methana c) Christoph Beier FAU
Volcanic rock sample from the sea floor that is similar to the dacites of Methana c) Christoph Beier FAU
Rock sample collected by the submarine robot. (c)GEOMAR Helmholtz-Zentrum für Ozeanforschung Kiel
Rock sample collected by the submarine robot. (c)GEOMAR Helmholtz-Zentrum für Ozeanforschung Kiel
Volcanic rock at the Saronic gulf (c)GEOMAR Helmholtz-Zentrum für Ozeanforschung Kiel
Volcanic rock at the Saronic gulf (c)GEOMAR Helmholtz-Zentrum für Ozeanforschung Kiel
Volcanic rock at the Saronic gulf (c)GEOMAR Helmholtz-Zentrum für Ozeanforschung Kiel
Volcanic rock at the Saronic gulf (c)GEOMAR Helmholtz-Zentrum für Ozeanforschung Kiel