Santorini Volcano, Greece
Santorini Volcano, Greece/ Nasa

The volcano that destroyed the ancient seafaring Minoan civilisation about 3,600 years ago in the Greek isle of Santorini has become active again after a gap of 60 years, according to a study published in the Geophysical Research Letters journal.

A series of volcanic eruptions devastated the Minoan civilisation in 1650 BCE and over 4,000 years since the eruptions, several small eruptions formed an underwater crater called the Santorini Caldera (Volcanic crater) within the Greek islands in the Aegean Sea .

The eruptions have even raised speculations about the legend of the lost city of Atlantis in the Atlantic Ocean that was said to have sunken due to similar volcanic destructions million of years ago.

The Caldera was active with small eruptions until 1950 after which they remained dormant. On 9 January, 2011 a series of low-magnitude earthquakes hit Santorini, according to the study.

In 2006, researchers had installed a GPS monitoring system in the Santorini area to keep track of the earth's movement. As many as 22 GPS stations were set up in a stable place to compare the effects of the reawakened volcano. The scientists found that by 2011 these stations had moved by 0.2 to 1.3 inches (5-32 mm) farther from the crater, reported OurAmazingPlanet.

To find out the causes behind the movement the experts conducted a survey. They collected data using the GPS system and found that the volcanic crater has been deforming and the land near them has been rapidly swelling reaching 7 inches of growth every year.

Scientists believe that the swelling is because of the influx of magma into a chamber below the surface.

"We've witnessed similar deformation events at other large calderas - Yellowstone, Long Valley California, and Campi Flegrei - without eruption," OurAmazingPlanet quoted researcher Andrew Newman, a geophysicist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, as saying.

"Globally, we've observed that on average, 90 per cent of magmatic intrusion events do not reach the surface," he added.

But he also warned that there could possibly be small eruptions that could trigger natural disasters including tsunamis, landslides, or other dangerous activity.

"Every volcano is somewhat different, and thus we cannot yet directly relate what we've learned at other volcanoes and apply them with complete confidence to this one," he said.