National Geographic Society

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How the Earth Changed History: Beneath the Crust

Santorini is a small, circular archipelago of volcanic  islands  located in the southern Aegean Sea. Santorini is essentially what remains of an enormous volcanic explosion, destroying the earliest settlements on what was formerly a single island, and leading to the creation of the current geological caldera. The island is the site of one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history: the Minoan eruption (sometimes called the Thera eruption), which occurred some 3,600 years ago at the height of the Minoan civilization. The eruption left a large caldera surrounded by volcanic ash deposits hundreds of feet deep and may have led indirectly to the collapse of the Minoan civilization on the island of Crete.
Dr. Stewart travels into the Earth's crust to understand Mother Nature's forces. We begin almost a thousand feet below the surface in a geological wonder: the Naica crystal cave in Mexico. It's an environment so hostile that anyone entering the cave would die in less than 30 minutes. Then we jet over to Israel's Negev Desert, where we'll uncover man's earliest source of copper, which changed our relationship with the planet forever.