As if Greece didn’t already have enough trouble: in the Greek isles, a volcano has awakened

From the AGU Geophysical Research Letters: Recent geodetic unrest at Santorini Caldera

Key Points

  • Santorini is deforming appreciably for the 1st time since its last eruption
  • A dense GPS network has unprecedented data coverage
  • Activity is centered in the region that blew-out in the 1650 BC Minoan Eruption

In 1650 B.C.E., a series of massive volcanic eruptions decimated the ancient seafaring Minoan civilization. Over the next 4 millennia, the largely subaquatic Santorini caldera had a series of smaller eruptions, with five such events within the past 600 years, and ending most recently in 1950. From the air, the Santorini caldera appears as a small cluster within the larger collection of Greek islands in the southern Aegean Sea. Following a 60-year lull, Santorini woke up on 9 January 2011 with a swarm of low-magnitude earthquakes.

A GPS monitoring system installed in the area in 2006 gave Newman et al. a stable background against which to compare the effects of the reawakened volcano. By June 2011 the regional GPS stations showed that they had been pushed 5-32 millimeters (0.2-1.3 inches) farther from the caldera than they had been just six months earlier. Following these initial results, the authors bolstered the GPS network and conducted a more extensive survey in September 2011, which confirmed that the land near the volcano was swelling. Continued monitoring from September through January 2012 showed the expansion was accelerating, reaching a rate of 180 mm (7 in) per year.

Using a model that interpreted the source of the deformation as an expanding sphere, the authors suggest that the expansion is due to an influx of 14.1 million cubic meters (498 million cubic feet) of magma into a chamber 4-5 kilometers (2.5-3.1 miles) below the surface. The authors suggest that the ongoing expansion is not necessarily the signal of an impending eruption, adding that the recent swelling represents only a fraction of that which led to the Minoan eruption. However, they warn that even a small eruption could trigger ash dispersion, tsunamis, landslides, or other potentially dangerous activity.

Source: Geophysical Research Letters, doi:10.1029/2012GL051286, 2012 http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2012GL051286.

Title: Recent Geodetic Unrest at Santorini Caldera, Greece

Authors: Andrew V. Newman: School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA;

Stathis Stiros, Fanis Moschas, and Vasso Saltogianni: Department of Civil Engineering, University of Patras, Greece;

Lujia Feng: Nanyang Technological University, Earth Observatory of Singapore, Singapore;

Panos Psimoulis: Institute of Geodesy and Photogrammetry, Switzerland;

Yan Jiang: University of Miami, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, USA;

Costas Papazachos, Dimitris Panagiotopoulos, Eleni Karagianni, and Domenikos Vamvakaris: Geophysical Laboratory, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece.

Abstract:

After approximately 60 years of seismic quiescence within Santorini caldera, in January 2011 the volcano reawakened with a significant seismic swarm and rapidly expanding radial deformation. The deformation is imaged by a dense network of 19 survey and 5 continuous GPS stations, showing that as of 21 January 2012, the volcano has extended laterally from a point inside the northern segment of the caldera by about 140 mm and is expanding at 180 mm/yr. A series of spherical source models show the source is not migrating significantly, but remains about 4 km depth and has expanded by 14 million m3 since inflation began. A distributed sill model is also tested, which shows a possible N-S elongation of the volumetric source. While observations of the current deformation sequence are unprecedented at Santorini, it is not certain that an eruption is imminent as other similar calderas have experienced comparable activity without eruption.

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115 thoughts on “As if Greece didn’t already have enough trouble: in the Greek isles, a volcano has awakened

  1. Well if Greece couldn’t do it with an economic whimper, it might as well try to take out the EU with a bang.

    Will there be a lot of underwater sulfurous and CO₂ emissions? A real-world check of the effects of ocean alkalinity decrease in the reasonably-enclosed Mediterranean could yield valuable results. If they can avoid disturbing the aquatic life with further cruise ship sinkings long enough to get uncontaminated observations, of course.

  2. Etna and Santorini are two different animals. Etna prefers to lazily build up its cone with lava flows, while Santorini is a typical grumbling and occasionally very explosive subduction-related volcano on a par with Krakatau. Added to the mix is the phreatomagmatic violence as seawater and pyroclastic behaviour mix together, making for a mighty big bang. Then the caldera collapses, sucking in a big glut of seawater and creating a final insult, a tsunami which would be a real pain amongst all of those Aegean islands. Meanwhile Etna and Stromboli just splutter along.

  3. GeoLurking can probably weigh in with some fresher takes on it, from eruptions…

    http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/03/eruption-update-for-march-21-2012-santorini-nevado-del-ruiz-etna-and-iliamna/#more-101961

    Not a lot of new activity, but lots of news of rumblings from different volcanoes worldwide:

    Greece

    Last week saw a lot of news about a new study that measured inflation at Santorini in the Aegean Sea occurring over the last 5 years. Combine that with the sharp increase in earthquakes, and it all points to magma rising under the famed caldera. The lead scientist on the research, Andrew Newman of Georgia Tech, estimates ~0.14 cubic km of magma has entered the upper part of the magmatic system under Santorini since January 2011 (clearly not an insignificant volume). You can get an idea of the rates and directions of inflation from this animated GIF from the research group. Now, any time a volcano with a legendary eruption like the Thera eruption that may have played a role in the fall of the Minoan empire, you definitely expect hyperbole and hysteria from the media. However, if an eruption happens at Santorini, expect it to be like the eruptions in 1939 and 1950. These eruptions added to the domes in the middle of the Thera caldera – impressive events on their own, but not the cataclysmic event of ~1610 B.C.

    Colombia

    All eyes are on Nevado del Ruiz right now and much like Santorini, Ruiz appears to be headed towards a new eruptive period. Last week’s Smithsonian/USGS Volcanic Activity Report mentioned “a gas plume rose 1.4 km above Arenas crater, originating from multiple emission sources and thermally anomalous areas within the crater” and the latest update from the Colombian Geological Survey (INGEOMINAS) mentions that the sharp increase in seismicity under Ruiz has continued, with earthquakes ranging in depth from 0.1 to 10 km below the edifice. They also suggest that sulfur dioxide emissions are up, although no values are given. Restrictions have been placed on tourists in the Los Nevados National Park, specifically for the area at the foot of Nevado del Ruiz.

    Alaska

    Iliamna is also continuing to rumble – and steam. The increased levels of seismicity at the Alaskan volcano has not abated while new pictures of the summit area clearing some a lot of steaming (see above). Both of these signs suggest new magma in the volcano, but so far there aren’t any other signals to say an eruption is very close. AVO has had Iliamna on Yellow/Advisory status since early March, however AVO geologist note that this activity is very similar to another uptick in seismicity and steaming that occurred in 1996 that did not lead to an eruption. The rumblings in 1996 lasted for almost a year before the volcano settled to background activity. You can follow the activity on the Iliamna webcam or webicorder.

    Italy

    Etna saw yet another paroxysm on March 18 – making it 22 paroxysms since January 2011 and the 4th of 2012. As with almost all the other events, the eruption saw strombolian explosions, fire fountains and lava flows issued from the volcano (see below). With only 2 weeks since the last paroxysm, the interval between is the shortest in the past five months, so when April 1 rolls around, it will be interested to see if Etna keeps up this pattern.

  4. The ONLY variable so far climate, volcanoes, earthquakes etc is the SUN! Its going through unprecedented quiet! To learn more have a look at Discovery Science Channel occasionally

  5. Dalton minimum was also a period of notable volcanic activity.

    I’m sure N.Scafetta would also point to the c. 60y recurrence in planetary tidal forces from the Jupiter and Saturn.

  6. Isn’t Santorini the most likely candidate for the fall of Atlantis legends? I remember seeing it on TV.

  7. The Thera eruption caused a 7 meter tsunami 1,000 Ks away at Tel Aviv. With the amount of development along the Med coast, a similar tsunami would have a major impact on lives and property.

  8. Auntie Merkel could not get the Hellenes to mend their spendthrift ways by talking sternly to them, nor by throwing a few hundred billion thalers at them. So she remembered Juno’s words in Virgil’s Aeneid: “flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo” (VII, 312: ‘If I cannot deflect the will of Heaven, I shall move Hell’).

  9. The Big One (1650 B.C.E) is probably the most famous historically:

    “And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night…” [Exodus 13:21].

    Boy, that must have been a biggie.

  10. ”adding that the recent swelling represents only a fraction of that which led to the Minoan eruption” ?
    Now, I may be being a little facetious here, but can someone explain how they can assess the expansion from 1650BC ? – I personally didn’t think the Mionoans were clever enough to have GPS!
    Seriously, as a geologist, I simply cannot see how they can assess previous expansion without very detailed geological mapping and cross sections, fault measurements, etc, and even then, using a lot of guestimation! (If anybody knows different, please do tell!)

  11. Its BC not BCE.

    I don’t care what C stands for Christ is a greek word meaning “oily”. How anyone can be offended by it I don’t know, but if they go out of their way to take affence then as 1AD was the first year when we had the modern calendar do as I do and take it to mean “before calendar”.

    In other words and date (day month) before 1AD (or if you prefer just 1) cannot be calculated using the modern calendar as the two will be out.

    More importantly, I used to be an idiot using xxBCE … and xxCE until I read a document from around the first century in a poorly reproduced pdf. I could not tell:

    108CE from
    10BCE

    In other words, if the world for some absurd reason felt compelled to get rid of suffix BC & AD, then the answer is not to replace it with CE BCE because it is just plain daft.

    More daft, is why would anyone change “Before Christ” to “Before Christian Era”? …. because there is no such thing as “common era”.

    And, I’ve thought about using +109 and -109, but unfortunately the history of the calendar is that the year is counted from a fictional point in time “0AD” and the number refers to the first year before or after this point in time.

    So, we come back to the idiotic notion that BC can’t be used because it is religious.

    Well what about Monday (moonday),
    Tiw’s Day. Tiw, or Tyr, was a Norse god known for his sense of justice.
    Woden’sday, Thorsday,
    Frigg’s Day. Frigg was another Norse god e
    Saturnday, and Sunday.

    Here we have Norse and sun/moon worship

    What about January (after Janus),
    March after Mars,
    May after another god
    Even August was named after another Roman semi-”god”/emperor augustus.

    In other words, time is littered with religious references which we all have to live with.

    But don’t we also use names to show respect to those who did the original work? When we publish a picture, we refer to the person who took the picture out of respect for their effort, legally established in copyright law?

    Don’t we use names of important scientists on SI units like joules, watt, Newton, etc. Arguably some don’t deserve their name. Newton e.g. stole a lot of his work, and John Harrison who arguably was far more important in creating the modern world through his work on measuring longitude is entirely sidelined by science.

    Well, the calendar as we know it was created by Christian scholars, and as a body they chose to use as the reference date their best estimate of the birth of a bricky called Jesus later and universally to christian and non-christian known as “Christos”.

    In other words, they deserve the right to have their work respected and for people to use “BCE” which is a completely senseless change which as I said leads to mistakes is completely utterly nonsense.

    … and I have just remembered how this makes it so difficult to find any documents dealing with early dates. (“BC” or “BCE” or “CE” or “AD” … prefix and suffix and B.C.E. and B.C. and BC. and …. I forget all the numerous combinations”) The British seem entirely unlikely to change from BC/AD … largely because it was a British churchman who invented it … and even if we did change, so many old documents use the system that without literally rewriting history it will always remain.

    All I would ask is that:

    1. BC and AD are used as suffixes.
    2. They are not abbreviations … they are units like mm (not m.m.)
    3. Anyone who finds “Christ” objectionable … just replace it with “Before Calendar” … but it’s meaning does not matter
    4. AD …. it’s some objectionable latin phrase. … personally I’d prefer it were different, but I would also call the Newton the Harrison … but if everyone were as daft we’d none of us understand each other and as I said. The christians did some good early work and do deserve the credit.

  12. Scottish Sceptic says: April 17, 2012 at 1:08 am

    Christ is a greek word meaning “oily”.

    No it isn’t. Since your second sentence is wrong, is it worth reading the rest?

  13. Oh dear, it’s getting a bit heavy! Well, Greece certainly has had it bad, worst economic crisis since the end of WW2. The German dominated EU is piling on the pressure for austerity & I think the Greeks are losing their grip! An earthquake or volcanic eruption might just take their minds off their troubles. As to Christ being a Greek word meaning “oily”, I think you’ll find that the interpretation of that literal translation was meant as “Anointed one”, but I’ll let the theologians squabble over that one. However as I Christian of sorts I dare say I will be ravaged & made to feel sinfull & guilty, all part of the Agenda 21 subtle systematic destruction of Western Free Enterprise culture I expect! After all, everyone takes offence except us, we just quielty get on with our lives, if we’re allowed to, that is !

    Anyway, in light of all that, here’s a giggle doing the rounds:-
    Angela Merkel arrives in Greece. Immigration Officer asks, “Name?”, Merkel says, “Angela Merkel!”, Immigration Officer asks, “Nationality?”, Merkel replies, “German!”. Immigration Officer asks, “Occupation?”, Merkel replies, “No, I am only here for a few days!”

    Apologies to all my lovely German friends, they have a great sense of humour :-)

  14. There model assumes an expanding sphere and this is used to estimate the volume of magma. It seems to me that it should be a half sphere at the top of a column that cuts through the Earth’s crust. If it were an expanding sphere, it would be pushing out horizontally in all directions deforming the crust in more ways.

  15. steveta_uk said on April 17, 2012 at 1:27 am:

    Scottish Sceptic says: April 17, 2012 at 1:08 am

    Christ is a greek word meaning “oily”.

    No it isn’t. Since your second sentence is wrong, is it worth reading the rest?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anointing

    The title Christ is derived from the Greek term Χριστός (Khristós) meaning “the anointed one”; covered in oil, anointed, itself from the above mentioned word Keres.

    So it’s oil covered, like a salad or olives and with a good oil, not “oily” like the bottom of a car engine or a WWF rep asking for a donation to save polar bears threatened by Mann-caused globe-bull warming.

    Can we declare a peaceful agreement on this?

  16. “TheBigYinJames says:
    April 17, 2012 at 12:24 am

    Isn’t Santorini the most likely candidate for the fall of Atlantis legends? I remember seeing it on TV.”

    The Atlantis legend (singular) comes from about half a page of Plato’s ‘Republic’. All the modern guff owes it’s existence to Ignatius Donnelly. You might take the view that “It must be true, I saw it on TV”, but then again…

    For what it’s worth, my guess, if there is any reality behind Plato’s account at all, is that the destruction of Atlantis harks back to the re-flooding of the Black Sea in about 5600 BC (Well said, Scottish Sceptic!). It’s in the right area and there are two rocks at the Northern end of the Bosporus which would do very well as the “Pillars of Herakles”, mentioned in hte Argo legend and pointed out by Tim Severin in his book (and TV programme) “The Argo Voyage”, wherein he re-traces the legendary route of Jason to Colchis (modern Georgia).

  17. It is sorely tempting to see these things in pantheistic terms. The scrawny bitch Gaia, perpetually PMS’ing the other gods into fits of depression, finally gets taken out by Vulcan.

    “Thou wishest to worry about carbon? Lo, I shall give thee some CARBON to worry about! Thou wishest to eliminate aircraft for their evil carbon-belching tendencies? I shall TOSS thy aircraft to the ground for years, yea unto the seventh generation!”

  18. Scottish Sceptic says:
    April 17, 2012 at 1:08 am
    More daft, is why would anyone change “Before Christ” to “Before Christian Era”? …. because there is no such thing as “common era”.

    Someone tried to tell me that BCE stood for “Before the Current Era,” and got very flustered when I asked if the Current Era began with the Industrial Revolution, Sputnik, the implosion of the Soviet Union, or Obama healing the planet immediately after his election…

  19. Kinda sounds like a very large canon being readied for discharge. Wonder what pressure of CO2 would berequired to propel a 5km sphere of molten magma all the way to Brussels and whether or not it would leave a tell tale ‘hotspot’? They don’t like it up’em.

  20. Scottish Sceptic says:
    April 17, 2012 at 1:08 am
    Its BC not BCE.

    Scottish Sceptic, much of what you say about the BC,AD versus BCE, ACE designations makes sense, just as most of what you say here makes sense, but the fact of the matter is that some of us who are not of the Christian persuasion much prefer the silly newfangled way simply because it’s another small and symbolic means for us to to show a bit of resistance to a once religiously heavy-handed academia. Kind of like sticking it to the “man,” to use old hippie parlance. Some things are not logical; they are religious and cultural and serve as a means to reveal identies and to communicate attitudes. It used to be that only a few Jewish academics used the new designation, which immediately told the rest of us that they at least wouldn’t be trying to brow-beat or convert us by confusing theology with science, which happenned far too often not very long ago. It also told us that the user had the gumption to protest and to stand up to the inevitable ridicule and some pretty hateful commentary that followed from some of their colleagues. It’ll be fine, we can all still get along with such little differences and may all our disagreements be as petty as this one. Beats religious wars, pogroms and such, what?

  21. The Toon-Army implication is serious: A 7 meter wave roiling around in the relatively shallow med is a dire prospect indeed!

  22. “In 1650 B.C.E…”

    I agree with Scottish Sceptic that B.C.E and C.E are ridiculous.

    99+ percent of the people who read this blog use B.C and A.D. Who are you maintaining this blog for? Some tiny minority?

    If you do not want to cater to your audience, close the blog.

  23. Scottish Sceptic says: (April 17, 2012 at 1:08 am) “Its BC not BCE.” and much, much more…

    Thanks, Scottish! Enlightening and amusing. Nice combination. Cheered this colonial’s evening up a lot.

  24. If Santorini blows its top again it’ll be a mix blessing for the warmists: on the one hand it’ll be welcomed as natural geoengineering by virtue of the sulphur compounds ejected into the upper atmosphere, but on the other there’ll be lots of that nasty evil CO2 stuff they keep harping on about. They are a confused bunch, aren’t they.

    As an aside. In response to several comments about the calendar, perhaps it is time we migrated from the Gregorian Christian calendar to something more meaningful. Here’s my starter-for-ten for Day 1:

    * Industrial Age (start of the industrial revolution – in a cotton mill in Manchester, England, if I remember rightly),
    * Electromagnetic Age (Faraday’s discovery of electromagnetism),
    * Atomic Age (but should it be discovery of radioactivity, atomic power, or atomic weapons?),
    * Space Age (first orbital device, rather than first human into orbit).

    Any one care to extend the list?

  25. ChrisM says: (April 17, 2012 at 3:16 am) “Perhaps they have set fire to Greece to claim on the Insurance…”

    Far, far too good to allow to pass without a salute, Chris!

  26. Joe Zarg says:
    April 17, 2012 at 4:08 am
    “In 1650 B.C.E…”
    99+ percent of the people who read this blog use B.C and A.D. Who are you maintaining this blog for? Some tiny minority?

    Kindly document your stats, please. And yes, Anthony maintains this blog just for me, and I use ACE and BCE. Go figure.

  27. sophocles says:
    April 17, 2012 at 12:43 am
    //////////////////////////////////////
    I recall watching a TV programme that mooted that the eruption explained the parting of the Red Sea when Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt. It mooted the idea that over low lying land, water was ecffectively sucked out as consequence of a Tsunami that was created by the collapse of the caldera.

    It certainly was a big and devastating event. May even be linked to famines experienced by Eqypt around that time.

    Of course precise dates and event with pre-history are dificult to know and ascertain with certainty.

  28. Disputin says:
    April 17, 2012 at 2:29 am
    “TheBigYinJames says:
    April 17, 2012 at 12:24 am

    Isn’t Santorini the most likely candidate for the fall of Atlantis legends? I remember seeing it on TV.”

    The Atlantis legend (singular) comes from about half a page of Plato’s ‘Republic’. All the modern guff owes it’s existence to Ignatius Donnelly. You might take the view that “It must be true, I saw it on TV”, but then again…

    =========

    Try visiting http://www.robertschoch.com/plasma.html and http://www.gizapower.com/Articles.htm

    The story about Atlantis came from Egypt when Plato went there… What Chris Dunn from Giza Power said about granite sure got my attention… If you don’t know how we sculpture statue or objects out of granite blocks, google it..

  29. Santorini is a spooky place. The town is built right on top of the edge of the volcano. Just a small burp and the whole place would be gone. Our ship sailed right into the middle of the thing. There is a big black pile of smoking stuff in the middle. Every place has it’s issues, but I would not want to live there.

  30. The Aristotle University of Thessaloniki has a live earthquake website in English, which covers Greece. Santorini is no. 4.

  31. Hey-
    Buck up, Kev. There’s no use crying over this news about volcanoes all over the place. I know it means at least one more year that doesn’t fit our warming projections, but so what? We’ve never let a little thing like that stop us before.
    Yes, I know Jim’s been been running around blubbering about how we’re losing, but that can work to our advantage, don’t you see? We’ll watch and see if the other side lets down their guard.
    You’re forgetting that we have Gav in place “where all the action is” to help straighten out the data and keep Jim on a more even keel.
    Yeah, I know that we might have to keep Jim a little closer at hand and restrict his travel, somewhat… people start taking a closer look at him- well, we can’t have that.
    Wouldn’t do at all for one of the icons of the cause to end his days in a rubber room.
    Best,
    Mike

    Ps Do I have to remind you to delete this email?

  32. “Perhaps they have set fire to Greece to claim on the Insurance…”
    The local steakhouse that burns to the ground under suspicious circumstance is always a victim of “Greek Lightning”. Your younger readers may not be aware of that old joke.

  33. I recall being in a coffee line one morning, and there was a delay. Someone in the line complained, and I muttered “I blame global warming.” Immediately. an earnest young man agreed with me, and sincerely explained how CAGW was the cause of our delayed caffeine fix. Others in the line nodded in agreement.

    I listened, awe-struck, and vowed to never again speak before having my morning coffee. I felt dizzy and light-headed. The colossal stupidity in that room was literally consuming all the oxygen.

    IF Santorini erupts, be prepared for a plethora of articles citing manmade global warming, aka climate change, as the cause.

    You heard it here first – global warming expands the Earth’s crust, creating weak points in the mantle and causing volcanos to erupt. OK, where’s my Nobel Prize?

  34. ChrisM says:
    April 17, 2012 at 3:16 am
    Perhaps they have set fire to Greece to claim on the Insurance………
    —————————-
    The Greeks hired the Italians to cause a big fire but make it look like an accident.

  35. Dave (UK) says:
    April 17, 2012 at 4:14 am
    ————-
    Invention of the internal combustion engine—-the modern era.

  36. Look !
    if we are going to control the Earth`s climate in the very near future then just putting one small volcano permanently out of action should be childs play, a sort of `proof of capability` before we go on to great climate thing. I didnt see them suggest a modus operandii.
    regards
    (sarc)

  37. Joe Zarg says:
    April 17, 2012 at 4:08 am

    “If you do not want to cater to your audience, close the blog.”

    One can only hope that this is, in some obscure way, sarcasm.

  38. Allan MacRae says:
    April 17, 2012 at 6:15 am

    Heck Allan – you must be good at holding your tongue? At the very least, I would have had to stand on a chair and tell them I was being sarcastic, and that only an idiot would equate volcanic activity to global warming! (then I’d have watched them admit idiocy or squirm!)

  39. Jeff Norman says:

    “Their model assumes an expanding sphere and this is used to estimate the volume of magma. It seems to me that it should be a half sphere at the top of a column that cuts through the Earth’s crust. “

    The model in question is the Mogi model. (Kiyoo Mogi). It’s a simplified model, and there are more advanced ones that assume cylindrical chambers (vertical or horizontal orientation) but the Mogi model is comparatively easy to calculate. The other benefit of the Mogi model is that it tends to be a pretty good estimate of what is down there.

    When you are trying to get a handle on how much of the melt is available, and then tally up all the stuff that comes out so you have an idea of how big one eruption is compared to another… well, the Mogi is accurate enough.

    http://www.geophys.uni-stuttgart.de/oldwww/ew/volcano/node8.html

  40. Scottish Sceptic says:
    April 17, 2012 at 1:08 am

    All I would ask is that:
    1. BC and AD are used as suffixes.

    But (to use your words) in the objectionable Latin shouldn’t AD be a prefix?

  41. P. Solar says:
    April 17, 2012 at 12:15 am
    Dalton minimum was also a period of notable volcanic activity. I’m sure N.Scafetta would also point to the c. 60y recurrence in planetary tidal forces from the Jupiter and Saturn.

    We calculate the earth’s tides using a very similar mechanism to that used to calculate horoscopes. The result is much more accurate than the result given by calculating tides based on gravitational forces.

    Yet, given the success in calculating tides in this fashion, supposedly learned scientists then reject this technique to calculate other events that could also be affects by tidal forces. Such as climate cycles and volcanic cycles.

    The problem is that scientists in general, and US scientists in particular are prejudiced over the use of the term “Astrology” and use it as a term of insult. As a result they throw out the baby with the bath water.

    Here is what wikipedia says about astrology:

    While astrology may bear a superficial resemblance to science, it is a pseudoscience because it makes little attempt to develop solutions to its problems, shows no concern for the evaluation of competing theories, and is selective in considering confirmations and dis-confirmations.

    This could just as easily be written as:

    While AGW may bear a superficial resemblance to science, it is a pseudoscience because it makes little attempt to develop solutions to its problems, shows no concern for the evaluation of competing theories, and is selective in considering confirmations and dis-confirmations.

  42. All I have to say is that the vast diversity of knowledge shown by the commenters on this site is what keeps me coming here. Add to that the absolutely brilliant wit, as shown by Alan the Brit’s Merkel joke, makes this the site I must visit regularly every day.

  43. Peter Kovachev says:
    April 17, 2012 at 3:47 am

    Scottish Sceptic says:

    I think there ought to be some respect given to the historical perspective. Thus, I find the date issue to be in the same class as a Liverpool councillor suggesting renaming “Penny Lane” . . .
    Penny Lane recalls the 18th-century slave trader, James Penny. Possible substitutes included homages to those who worked for the abolition of slavery, including William Wilberforce, or a tribute to the black teenager Anthony Walker, murdered in a racist attack in the city last year.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/labels-the-name-game-408113.html

    . . . and “planetary wrath and ridicule” followed. Christ Church, Nashville/ Christchurch, NZ / and on and on … ???

    In the USA, we could rename anything and everything now known as “Washington” to “John” (my preference) because George was a slave owner.
    ————————————————————————–
    Back to the Volcano

    http://www.nytimes.com/1985/12/24/science/new-find-is-linked-to-events-to-exodus.html

    PROBING 20 feet into the soil of the Nile delta, American scientists have found tiny glass fragments from a volcano that they say could lend support to a theory linking a volcanic eruption to the seemingly miraculous events associated with the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt.

    This isn’t a new idea, they just found some new evidence (1985).

  44. The Greek fire comments above remind me of Pratchett’s Discworld where a tourist from the counterweight continent inadvertantly causes Ankh-Morpork to burn down after introducing the concept of a fire insurance policy.

  45. Dave (UK) says:
    April 17, 2012 at 4:14 am

    “As an aside. In response to several comments about the calendar, perhaps it is time we migrated from the Gregorian Christian calendar to something more meaningful. Here’s my starter-for-ten for Day 1:

    * Industrial Age (start of the industrial revolution – in a cotton mill in Manchester, England, if I remember rightly),
    * Electromagnetic Age (Faraday’s discovery of electromagnetism),
    * Atomic Age (but should it be discovery of radioactivity, atomic power, or atomic weapons?),
    * Space Age (first orbital device, rather than first human into orbit).”

    Do you promise we will not lose another 11 days?

  46. Tried to find the subject in the Greek news, and it is way down , the last date something was published was March 15, discussing the article you have posted.

    It says that 90% of similar calderas do not errupt after similar behavior.

    This link is in Greek.

  47. Assuming the oceans were much lower in 1600 BC, the caldera is going to react differently should there be a super eruption. Either way, might be best to watch from another planet. Food storage might be in order…. for lots of reasons. :)

    Would be interesting if global volcanism was cyclic, I would imagine that the velocity of plate movement would be a factor.

  48. “Hutch says:
    April 17, 2012 at 7:19 am
    Scottish Sceptic says:
    April 17, 2012 at 1:08 am

    All I would ask is that:
    1. BC and AD are used as suffixes.

    But (to use your words) in the objectionable Latin shouldn’t AD be a prefix?”

    I believe it could be either prefix or suffix as AD, in the latin, Anno Domini, in english, “the year of Our Lord”. BC, before Christ. He must have had some significant impact upon the world, as I am not aware of anyone else’s birthday being used to begin and end the counting of time for such a large part of the world’s population. Jewish calendar? Chinese calendar? Anyone familiar with their basis? Don’t make me go to wikipedia!

    Also have not seen a post to reply to the comment re how we know what the expansion rate of the magma dome of Santorini was in 1650 BC, in order to compare it to today? Great question!

  49. Also of interest is after the two 8+mag quakes west of Sumatra, each day now we’ve seen stronger quakes(6+) in others places. Kinda think those 8′s weakened some faults. Japan is still dealing with moderate to sometimes strong quakes long after that 9 hit over a year ago. Very unstable ground still.

    http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsww/Quakes/quakes_all.html

    If I lived on the West coast, I’d be getting a bit nervous. Especially after all those big Mexican quakes. Adjustments in the faults there could be putting more pressure on the CA faults.

  50. Chuck Nolan says:
    April 17, 2012 at 6:18 am
    ChrisM says:
    April 17, 2012 at 3:16 am
    “Perhaps they have set fire to Greece to claim on the Insurance………
    —————————-
    The Greeks hired the Italians to cause a big fire but make it look like an accident”

    You had best see the movie,”Kill the Irishman”, before you make comments like this one! Good movie and historically accurate.

  51. John F. Hultquist says:
    April 17, 2012 at 8:06 am
    (Peter Kovachev says: April 17, 2012 at 3:47 am)
    I think there ought to be some respect given to the historical perspective. Thus, I find the date issue to be in the same class as a Liverpool councillor suggesting renaming “Penny Lane”…

    And I find this issue is getting to be a tad silly, John. How would my preference in using BCE/ACE disrespect “the historical perspective”? Or threaten to rename Penny Lane or Christchurch, perish the thought? I use BCE/ACE only whenever I write to a Jewish audience or in an academically-leaning forum with educated readers, such as this one, where I can assume to be among peers with education and to be safely in the lee from from red-neckery and bloody-mindedness. Otherwise, the run-of-the mill עם הארץ or the οἱ πολλοί get the BC-AD bit, so consider yourself honoured.

  52. * Industrial Age (start of the industrial revolution – in a cotton mill in Manchester, England, if I remember rightly),
    * Electromagnetic Age (Faraday’s discovery of electromagnetism),
    * Atomic Age (but should it be discovery of radioactivity, atomic power, or atomic weapons?),
    * Space Age (first orbital device, rather than first human into orbit).

    Any one care to extend the list?

    ================================

    * 2nd Age of Migrations (a global uptick in volcanism on the heels of a Maunder Minimum triggers global thermonuclear war).

  53. Roger Carr says:
    April 17, 2012 at 4:13 am
    Alan the Brit: “No, I am only here for a few days!”

    Brilliant, Alan!

    I hasten to add, it was a joke I saw somewhere else, it was not mine, it just appealed to my sense of humour! ;-)

  54. “A GPS monitoring system installed in the area in 2006 gave Newman et al. a stable background against which to compare the effects of the reawakened volcano. By June 2011 the regional GPS stations showed that they had been pushed 5-32 millimeters (0.2-1.3 inches) farther from the caldera than they had been just six months earlier.”

    So, if I’m following the bouncing ball properly, instead of properly studying the volcano and its caldera for evidence of change the researchers felt/saw the ground move. Its all about people these days : P

    Thankfully we don’t approach it this way — http://www.avo.alaska.edu/activity/index.php

  55. Just because Santorini is inflating does not necessarily mean that it is going to reprise the 1650 BC caldera forming eruption. The Smithsonian Global Volcanism Program lists over a dozen historic eruptions since the Minoan destroying eruption. The duty cycle on this one appears to be pretty long (fortunately) with over 3600 years since the last huge eruption – which depending on the tightness of your (or my) tinfoil hat may or may not mean we are due. Other dangerous mountains like St. Helens or Krakatau have much shorter duty cycles. Krakatau went only 1300 years (or so) between its huge blasts in 535 AD and 1883 AD. Even Yellowstone has been active since the last big blast 600,000 years ago. We tend to focus on the really big eruptions and forget that stratovolcanoes / caldera systems need to have a series of eruptions to rebuild the next cone or dome or other structure for the next big blast to destroy. Cheers -

    http://www.volcano.si.edu/world/volcano.cfm?vnum=0102-04=&volpage=erupt

  56. David Jones says:

    April 17, 2012 at 8:30 am
    * Atomic Age (… atomic weapons?),
    A(tomic) A(ge) or After Hiroshima was sporadically used in Astounding Science Fiction after 1945. If memory serves, that stopped around 1949. The last time that way of dating was used was in the title of a German SF novel: Rochard Hey’s “Im Jahre 95 nach Hiroshima” (In the Year 95 after H—, 1982). Which, by the way, depicts Europe in the iron grip of an ice age.

  57. As far as Volcanoes go I’d much rather have Etna and Stromboli in my back yard-than
    Santorini or Ranier ( or Glacier Peak.)- the latter two are in my back yard..

  58. For a long time I have wondered if rapid oscillations in the Earth’s magnetic field could be contributing in a small way, smaller than radioactive decay, to heating of ferromagnesian minerals by magnetically induced eddy current losses.

  59. Peter Kovachev says:
    April 17, 2012 at 9:50 am
    John F. Hultquist says:
    April 17, 2012 at 8:06 am
    (Peter Kovachev says: April 17, 2012 at 3:47 am)
    …I think there ought to be some respect given to the historical perspective. Thus, I find the date issue to be in the same class as a Liverpool councillor suggesting renaming “Penny Lane”…

    And I find this issue is getting to be a tad silly, John. How would my preference in using BCE/ACE disrespect “the historical perspective”? Or threaten to rename Penny Lane or Christchurch, perish the thought? I use BCE/ACE only whenever I write to a Jewish audience or in an academically-leaning forum with educated readers, such as this one, where I can assume to be among peers with education and to be safely in the lee from from red-neckery and bloody-mindedness. Otherwise, the run-of-the mill עם הארץ or the οἱ πολλοί get the BC-AD bit, so consider yourself honoured.

    =========

    ..you have your own calendar, why not use that when writing to a Jewish audience? If I recall, and it is rather a long time since I took part in discussions about G-D, BCE/ACE variation came from the Jews who tend to get apoplectic whenever Christ is mentioned and the common use of BC/AD offended them because they knew what it meant.

    Far too many ‘politically correct’ adjustments have been given credibility mainstream, it’s so very tiresome, but this variation is less irritating than some. It amuses me that after the contortions of ‘chairperson’ via ‘madam chairman’, they appear to have settled on ‘chair’.

    I wish they’d agree what a billion was. How can we tell how much of tax payers money is being ripped off otherwise? There’s a heck of difference between a million million and a thousand million and we’re now into trillions. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_and_short_scales

    When was the big bang?

  60. But being as where on this, they should drop the AD as being from the birth of christ, as we know it’s at least 4 years too late, but his death on the cross, for which we know the exact time and date.

  61. “due to an influx of 14.1 million cubic meters (498 million cubic feet) of magma into a chamber 4-5 kilometers (2.5-3.1 miles) below the surface.”

    Now we know what Greece did with all that bad debt.

  62. otsar said on April 17, 2012 at 11:00 am
    For a long time I have wondered if rapid oscillations in the Earth’s magnetic field could be contributing in a small way, smaller than radioactive decay, to heating of ferromagnesian minerals by magnetically induced eddy current losses.

    Just to add a bit of rampant speculation: It is as known that there are very long conductive pathways underground, probably caused by deep groundwater precipitates or graphite layers. Therefore there must be also natural capacitors and inductors, hence circuits. Earth has build the natural reactor Oklo — maybe something like transistors too? At any rate, the effect of induced currents must be unevenly distributed.

  63. “TheBigYinJames says:
    April 17, 2012 at 12:24 am

    Isn’t Santorini the most likely candidate for the fall of Atlantis legends? I remember seeing it on TV.”
    I saw something along those lines also. If I remember correctly, the connection made was in thinking that Plato got the idea from the Egytians who had a story about a great civilization being destroyed suddenly by the sea. The show thought that was refering the Minoans being destroy by the sea, the result of Sanorini’s eruption.
    To Scottish Sceptic: Well said. It is truly silly to try to remove the references BC and AD after they’ve been used for well over 1000 years just because some now don’t like to what the original references refered.

  64. Hello Myrrh,

    I don’t believe we’ve electronically conversed before. I read your informed and colourful posts with great interest, as they never failed to disappoint. “Never say never,” I guess.

    “If I recall, and it is rather a long time since I took part in discussions about G-D, BCE/ACE variation came from the Jews who tend to get apoplectic whenever Christ is mentioned and the common use of BC/AD offended them because they knew what it meant.” For as long as I’ve been around, Myrrh, I’ve never met a single Jew who has been offended by the use of AD or BC or “whenever Christ” is mentioned. Most, in fact, use those terms without qualms. Before we continue, let me rest your mind that there is, never was and likely never will be a Jewish conspiracy to rip out those dearly beloved terms from the grasps of Christian children. But if you say you found yourself in a den of apoplectic brethren of mine, let me apologise on their behalf; they have no business demanding you use BCE/ACE as you have no business demanding they use BC/AD. Fair enough?

    “..you have your own calendar, why not use that when writing to a Jewish audience?” Gosh, sorry about that one, Myrrh, didn’t know there was shortage, a “peak calendar” crisis as it were. The Hebrew Calendar is used fairly frequently in my Orthodox digs, especially regarding festivals and such and in scholarship is typically reserved for theological topics and classical Jewish lit, where such dates make more sense to the specialized readers. Secularism being the norm for all of us now, it would be rather awkward in modern scholarship or daily use. Si fueris Romae, Romano vivito more…

    Regardless, it seems there are plenty now who use the BCE/ACE who are neither Jewish or religious in any way. Some atheists and secularists avail themselves of the term and I imagine that folks from other religions do too. It’s the kind of thing that happens in an intellectually free society where neither Crown nor Church have much say in such matters anymore. In search of the “missing heat,” the hidden cause of the astounding turbulence here over the BCE/ACE, I’m guessing that some are trying to push the “new” use as a politically correct, “culturally sensitive” measure of some sort, and trying to force it on every one. Well, Myrrh, just for the record, that would be assinine and wrong….must I apologize for them too? Need I send you a pair free tickets to the Fiddler on the Roof? I can’t bear responsibility for the opinions of groups I’m not even aware of, nor for your poor choice of Jewish debating partners, and while I feel for a climate wars comrade’s suffering, I’m not about to change the way I annotate my dates…that would be as relevant to anything out there as the date of the Big Bang to this discussion.

  65. @Nerd:

    There’s pretty good evidence for sand slurry based sawing of rocks in ancient times. Needs a plate (can be most anything, even rope) to drag the sand, and critters to move the copper slab or ‘whatever’ through the groove. Add sand and water and time…

    More interesting is the evidence that they knew how to take sand and lye and make ‘liquid stone’:

    https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2011/12/22/liquid-stone/

    A process we have recreated in reduced form as cement, and in 1/2 way there form as a kind of poured stone. (One of the links has Egyptian style busts reproduced in modern liquid stone that is claimed to be indistinguishable from real stuff). It would explain a lot of the “impossible cuts” of square inside corners et al. Oh, and one builder tomb has an inscription claiming he knew the secret of liquid stone…

    @All:

    So now we’re adding ACE to the list? BC BCE AD CE ACE? Anno Domini (year of our Lord) is itself off by about 4 years from the actual birthdate, so doesn’t really reference Christ as a time marker. But hey, if you want to use a different system, there are dozens of them. Islamic, Judaic, Chinese, etc. etc. No need to screw up this one. So I’m sticking with BC and AD (as they ARE easier to tell one from the other and find via google-foo). And when someone says BCE to me I respond with “So, you are one of those folks promoting Before Christian Era?”… I’ve also encouraged several religious folks as they proselytize at my door to call it that as well. Christian Era is soo much easier to remember than Anno Domini…

    I explored that all a bit here:

    https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2011/12/18/oct-nov-dec-8-9-10-tenth-eleventh-twelfth-months/

    And found that the Ethiopians had it closer than The West. So IF we’re going to screw around with it, we likely ought to swap over to theirs while we’re at it.

    BTW, as long as we’re changing things, those roman emperors don’t need praise any more and it offends me. So lets take those extra days off their months and give them back to February.

    I worked up a decent calendar system that uses 12 months of 30 days each, with ONE holiday on each of the equinox days and summer solstice while the winter solstice gets 2 most years, and 3 in leap years. It is roughly based on the early calendar found in the Bible but with a couple of bits ‘fixed up’. (Expanded from 360 days to 365 plus a leap year day)

    The ancient Egyptians used a calendar that reset each year based on Sirius rising day, so never got out of sync. I proposed doing the same for determining when to add the leap day, but Wayne Jackson came up with a very simple way to calculate leap years that works for many thousands of years, so I’ve called it “Smith’s Calendar – Jackson’s Leap”:

    wayne says:
    22 December 2011 at 4:49 am

    E.M., I went back to my old machine and there were additional terms. Since the current tropical year is ~365.2421897 days then an equation as
    365 + 1/4 – 1/128 + 1/262144 – 1/524288 = 365.2421894
    or
    365 + 1/(2^2) – 1/(2^7) + 1/(2^18) – 1/(2^19)

    gets you to where the next one day correction needed to the calendar would be about 3.44 million years in the future. Thought you might get a kick out of that… a near perfect binary calendar.
    (and sure, you can use it freely, it’s yours)

    So if we’re going to monkey around, how about we do those fixes too? Then we get all the months the same size and a calendar that stays in sync with the seasons every year for a few million years with a simple formula (or can just have Sirius Rising tell you when to add a day).

    We also get to take as a holiday each of the key equinox and solstice days without needing to call them things like “Easter” or “Passover” or…

    We could even set the “start date” to something convenient like, oh, the first atomic bomb blast. That way folks would easily be able to mark BB AB via radioactive markers in ice, sediments, etc…

    Or we could just leave everything alone and not mess with it…

    Per Atlantis:

    I’ve read the Plato. Looks to me like that puts it outside the Mediterranean, likely up near Britain (the account has large walls of ice / mountains around the city, so not in the middle of a warmish sea…) and timing is about the last ice age glacial end. My guess is that it’s under about 300 to 400 foot of water between Spain and Britain somewhere.

    There are other older cultures out there. IMHO, they got whacked by the catastrophic effects of a large rock hitting the ice sheet of North America in the Younger Drias event, followed by catastrophic water rise globally. We’re just now finding the bits in the dirt and more under the water.

    https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2011/01/06/gobekli-tepe/

    https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/persia-dig-older-than-mesopotamia/

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2012/03/30/an-ancient-european-culture-rediscovered/

    So, as Atlantis was at sea level, and the folks about 5,000 years ago said it was a “truly old” culture “hoary with age”. I’d place it at about 400 feet down, near the old glacial edge of about 12,000 (BP? BC? BCE? BB? …)

    As to the topic of the thread:

    There’s pretty good evidence for cyclical volcanic destruction in more or less sync with cooling cycles on earth ( I’d mention that they sync somewhat with solar cycles, but Lief would erupt and Anthony would get a headache ;-) so let’s just say they seem to sync with lunar orbital periods (that only indirectly connect to solar cycles and planets via Orbital Resonance…)

    http://www.pnas.org/content/97/8/3814.full

    So I’d suggest looking at that (peer reviewed published) paper on lunar cycles vs the Earth and see how well it plots up against past periods of high volcanic activity. About then, you can ask if a tide in a liquid like magma might matter. Then you can move away from the coastline and any volcano regions…

    FWIW, in the 1700′s there was a great quake in Japan and significant volcanism. There was also a great quake in Cascadia and more volcanism there, too. IFF there’s any predictive ability to the notion that those are linked: Somewhere in the next couple of decades we ought to see Mt. Fuji erupting again and a great quake in Cascadia.

    https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2011/03/15/1707-hoei-49-days-fuji/

    That the European volcanoes are waking up fits too…

  66. There is so much in ancient history that is not well known, and some that is really messed up as far as dates are concerned. I deal with this on a regular basis on other blogs, and at times it gets rather tiring.

    We don’t know when Jesus was executed: could be as early as 24 AD, or as late as 33 AD (depends on whether the 15th year of Tiberius was counting his co-regency with Augustus, or not). His birth, 4 or 7 BC?

    By about 300 BC if our historians are within a decade of accuracy, they are doing well.

    By 800 BC, if within a century — OK.

    Were the Tel Amarna letters from about 1300 BC, or after 900 BC which would fit archaeological findings better?

    What makes it worse are all the factions fighting for their dates to be considered correct for bragging rights, starting with the Egyptians while under Greek rule before the Romans.

    So when did ancient Thera blow up to become Santorini? If it was connected with the Exodus of Israel from Egypt, then it happened about 1450 BC. But the professional historians will scream bloody murder because it ruins their nice little models.

    So let’s not argue about history. Too little is known. Too much is suppressed for political reasons.

    I found that עם הארץ / οι πολλοι reference amusing. I trust them more than many of the intellectual elite.

    It will be interesting to see what happens with this present expansion.

  67. Kev-in-Uk says:

    …Seriously, as a geologist, I simply cannot see how they can assess previous expansion without very detailed geological mapping and cross sections, fault measurements, etc, and even then, using a lot of guestimation!

    Well, yeah, guestimation is involved. According to GVP, Thera ejected somewhere on the order of 9.9 x 10^10 m³ of material, based on samples and the distribution found around Med.

    That gives you a ballpark estimate of how much material was in the original chamber… again, with some assumptions. Using the relatively simple Mogi model, you can get an idea of the offset for points along a line of sites at set distances from the top of the “chamber.”

    If the observed offsets are nowhere near what the estimated offsets were prior to 1610… then it’s a pretty safe assumption that the current inflation is far smaller than what preceded Thera.

  68. BCE/BC/AD?

    To avoid any morre arguments, how about simply reverting back to the supposed date of the foundation of Rome AUG.

    Either that or the date that sex was invented, which was , as all educated people know was in 1963, between the conclusion of the Lady Chatterley trial and the launch of The Beatles first LP…

    sarc off.

  69. Armagh Observatory says:
    April 17, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    “BCE/BC/AD?”

    1610 BC. (my lapse really illustrated that other topic)

  70. >>>Isn’t Santorini the most likely candidate for the fall of Atlantis
    >>>legends? I remember seeing it on TV.”

    Quite likely actually.

    a. The form of a flooded-nested-caldera, like Santorini, conforms exactly with the descriptions of the concentric rings of sea and land in Atlantis.
    b. The Atlantis story harks to the Bronze Age, the time of Santorini.
    c. Santorini did sink beneath the waves in one dramatic day.
    d. The story of floating islands, would conform to pumice rafts.
    e. Plato did not necessarily say Atlantis was bigger than Asia and Africa. Change one letter, and it reads ‘between Asia and Africa’.

    As an aside, the same eruption most probably caused the ash fall over Egypt, mentioned by Moses. “take ash from the fire and throw it into the air, and it will become like ash across the land of Egypt” See ‘Tempest and Exodus’.

  71. Smokey says:
    April 17, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    Re: BCE and BC. They may get away with that. But what are they going to do about 2012?
    2012 since… what, exactly?☺
    _________________
    Not that it matters, Smokey. It is 2012 after all, so we’re all gonna die.
    / <— sarc tag

  72. Smokey says:
    April 17, 2012 at 6:04 pm
    Re: BCE and BC. They may get away with that. But what are they going to do about 2012?
    2012 since… what, exactly?☺

    ——————————–

    There you have it, squabble resolved. Year one of the Mayan calendar and since the Great Gleickian Fall. Anno Lapsis Petrvs Gliccvs?

  73. Oh no! Santorini is the most beautiful place in the world. I visited there in 2009 and would love to go back sometime. I can only hope that the geologists are right and that the expansion that is taking place is not a sign of an impending eruption of any kind.

  74. Ed Mertin says:
    April 17, 2012 at 12:04 am
    ————-

    Pretty cool. My son is disturbed by reports that Yellowstone is overdue.

    What do you suggest I tell him?

    Thank you

  75. Silver Ralph says:
    April 17, 2012 at 5:58 pm
    >>>Isn’t Santorini the most likely candidate for the fall of Atlantis
    >>>legends? I remember seeing it on TV.”

    Quite likely actually.
    ——–

    Ok, a candidate perhaps, but have you seen the National Geographic show on the exploration of a site in a National Preserve on the East coast of Spain that has the same properties? Likely destroyed by a Tsumani. This building pattern is replicated in many places in southern Spain.

  76. OK,

    one last comment…

    Melamed says:
    April 17, 2012 at 3:42 pm
    There is so much in ancient history that is not well known, and some that is really messed up as far as dates are concerned. I deal with this on a regular basis on other blogs, and at times it gets rather tiring.

    We don’t know when Jesus was executed: could be as early as 24 AD, or as late as 33 AD (depends on whether the 15th year of Tiberius was counting his co-regency with Augustus, or not). His birth, 4 or 7 BC?

    By about 300 BC if our historians are within a decade of accuracy, they are doing well.

    By 800 BC, if within a century — OK.

    Were the Tel Amarna letters from about 1300 BC, or after 900 BC which would fit archaeological findings better?

    What makes it worse are all the factions fighting for their dates to be considered correct for bragging rights, starting with the Egyptians while under Greek rule before the Romans.

    So when did ancient Thera blow up to become Santorini? If it was connected with the Exodus of Israel from Egypt, then it happened about 1450 BC. But the professional historians will scream bloody murder because it ruins their nice little models.
    ————

    “Professional historians” and “nice little models”. Not a lot of people trying to rock that ship. Then again, not a lot of people are going to be expected to pay more than extra trillions of dollars worldwide because of those disagreements.

    Perhaps we can gloss over the difference of a few years in potential history, but to do so in the climate curriculum, we don’t have that luxury. Except in the most exact reconstruction of ice cores (years,) We are looking at tens, hundreds and thousands of years of data sources, we are searching for climate clues. Let’s get it right for science and the people, not for the grant payers and climate science tag along Sycophants.

    So, I’d love to know which variant proves true. Are we at 4 or 7 BC birth or at 24 or 33AD for death?

    Has anyone in these curricula heard of the concept of Cosmology and the study of everything? Versus this apparent continual spiral into such condensed studies such that we lose all touch with the reality of today? Its worth an exploration.

    Can’t we try to get it right for the correct reasons?

  77. what the original references refered.

    Peter Kovachev says:
    April 17, 2012 at 2:16 pm
    Hello Myrrh,

    “If I recall, and it is rather a long time since I took part in discussions about G-D, BCE/ACE variation came from the Jews who tend to get apoplectic whenever Christ is mentioned and the common use of BC/AD offended them because they knew what it meant.”

    For as long as I’ve been around, Myrrh, I’ve never met a single Jew who has been offended by the use of AD or BC or “whenever Christ” is mentioned. Most, in fact, use those terms without qualms. Before we continue, let me rest your mind that there is, never was and likely never will be a Jewish conspiracy to rip out those dearly beloved terms from the grasps of Christian children. But if you say you found yourself in a den of apoplectic brethren of mine, let me apologise on their behalf; they have no business demanding you use BCE/ACE as you have no business demanding they use BC/AD. Fair enough?

    I was just giving the history of it – what goes into ‘politically correct’ thinking is that someone, somewhere, sometime, decides that something is ‘politically incorrect’. The change to BCE came from very traditional Jews who still go apoplectic whenever Christ is mentioned, as I was reliably informed, as if it wasn’t obvious, through many discussions I had about G-D in the past with these and other more generally traditional Jews. Notice my spelling… It’s in academe where their views about this was first introduced. And, they didn’t demand I used it, it was just part of the information I gathered from discussions with all kinds of Jews – even those who were told they weren’t Jews because their mother wasn’t.

    “..you have your own calendar, why not use that when writing to a Jewish audience?”

    Gosh, sorry about that one, Myrrh, didn’t know there was shortage, a “peak calendar” crisis as it were.

    Perhaps I should have added a smiley.

    The Hebrew Calendar is used fairly frequently in my Orthodox digs, especially regarding festivals and such and in scholarship is typically reserved for theological topics and classical Jewish lit, where such dates make more sense to the specialized readers. Secularism being the norm for all of us now, it would be rather awkward in modern scholarship or daily use. Si fueris Romae, Romano vivito more…

    So why not stick to BC/AD…?

    Regardless, it seems there are plenty now who use the BCE/ACE who are neither Jewish or religious in any way. Some atheists and secularists avail themselves of the term and I imagine that folks from other religions do too. It’s the kind of thing that happens in an intellectually free society where neither Crown nor Church have much say in such matters anymore. In search of the “missing heat,” the hidden cause of the astounding turbulence here over the BCE/ACE, I’m guessing that some are trying to push the “new” use as a politically correct, “culturally sensitive” measure of some sort, and trying to force it on every one. Well, Myrrh, just for the record, that would be assinine and wrong….must I apologize for them too? Need I send you a pair free tickets to the Fiddler on the Roof? I can’t bear responsibility for the opinions of groups I’m not even aware of, nor for your poor choice of Jewish debating partners, and while I feel for a climate wars comrade’s suffering, I’m not about to change the way I annotate my dates…that would be as relevant to anything out there as the date of the Big Bang to this discussion.

    I’m sorry you felt this was some kind of attack on Jews and I certainly wasn’t directing blame on you personally nor had I in mind any of your imaginative extrapolation so no offence taken. As I said, I was merely giving the history of its appearance, but,

    and so now adding by extension, why it is inapplicable to continue justifying its use as being “It’s the kind of thing that happens in an intellectually free society where neither Crown nor Church have much say in such matters anymore.” , because, it was deliberately conceived by a particular religious interest that pushed its use into academe using just such phrasing, that interest is still ‘Church’. I hope now you have been informed of its genesis you will more circumspect and think before gliby repeating the meme introduced to smooth its passage into mainstream.. Your sense of humour does you credit, but it is misplaced here.

  78. Silver Ralph says:
    April 17, 2012 at 5:58 pm
    >>>Isn’t Santorini the most likely candidate for the fall of Atlantis
    >>>legends? I remember seeing it on TV.”

    Quite likely actually.

    a. The form of a flooded-nested-caldera, like Santorini, conforms exactly with the descriptions of the concentric rings of sea and land in Atlantis.
    b. The Atlantis story harks to the Bronze Age, the time of Santorini.
    c. Santorini did sink beneath the waves in one dramatic day.
    d. The story of floating islands, would conform to pumice rafts.
    e. Plato did not necessarily say Atlantis was bigger than Asia and Africa. Change one letter, and it reads ‘between Asia and Africa’.
    ===========
    I recall a programme some time ago which put Atlantis in South America – it’s what is in Plato’s descriptions, such as continent not island, which rule out a lot of the choices.

    Here, http://www.atlantisbolivia.org/atlantisboliviapart1.htm

    I think part of the problem of working out where it is comes from a generation of historians who thought there was no intercontinental travel in the ancient world. There’s been much to change this perception recently, analysis of language and so on, and among this some interesting finds in Egypt which found cocaine in some mummies, this is specific to the Americas. Of course, lots and lots of arguments about it, fascinating in itself:

    http://www.faculty.ucr.edu/~legneref/ethnic/mummy.htm

    And also, lots and lots of odd ball claims for ancient visitors to the Americas, some here: http://www.oocities.org/age_of_giants/anomalies/mediterranean_america.html

    But one does seem to have legs: “Greeks in Ancient America Metcalf Stone

    In the late 1960s a man named Manfred Metcalf found a stone in Georgia that bears an inscription that is very similar to ancient writing from the island of Crete in The Aegean Sea. The stone eventually found itself in the capable hands of Cyrus Gordon who stated

    “After studying the inscription, it was apparent to me that the affinities of the script were with the Aegean syllabary, whose two best known forms are Minoan Linear A, and Mycenaean Linear B. …We therefore have American inscriptional contacts with the Aegean of the Bronze Age, near the south, west and north shores of the Gulf of Mexico. This can hardly be accidental; ancient Aegean writing near three different sectors of the Gulf reflects Bronze Age transatlantic communication between the Mediterranean and the New World around the middle of the second millennium B.C.”

    Fort Benning, Georgia, Professor Stanislav Segert, professor of Semitic languages at the University of Prague, has identified the markings as a script of the second millennium before Christ, from the Minoan civilization on the island of Crete!”

  79. Also watched some time ago a fascinating look at Exodus/Santorini by the Naked Archeologist –

    http://newagearchaeology.weebly.com/biblical-links.html

    Who puts the date of the Exodus back to 1500s and produced connections such as this:

    “By now Jacobovici has correlated the Pharaoh named Ahmose, the Hyksos expulsion, the Exodus, and the Santorini eruption all to 1500 BCE. He then explores possible scientific explanations for the Biblical story of Moses’ ten plagues, and the parting of the sea.

    In 1992, perfectly preserved Minoan paintings were discovered at Avaris, proving that in Biblical times this city was populated not only by Israelites, but also by people from ancient Greece, indicating that there was commerce between the Hyksos and the Minoans on the island of Santorini. Jacobovici concludes that some of the people who followed Moses in the Exodus, or Hyksos expulsion, did not follow him to the Promised Land, but instead boarded ships and sailed to Greece. In 1972, while digging among the ashes of Santorini in Greece, archaeologists made a startling discovery linking this area of the world with the Exodus. They found Minoan style wall paintings and a map depicting an ancient journey from Egypt to Greece, which may be the oldest map in the world. It depicts an ancient Egyptian city which is believed to Avaris.”

  80. GeoLurking says:
    April 17, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    Of course – but how much inflation is below water level? – and on the surrounding seabed?, and what about lateral expansion/contraction?
    As you confirm, a lot of guestimation involved, especially on the ejecta front! I mean, estimates of ejecta do not necessarily reflect the size of the magma chamber directly, perhaps only half was ejected? – you get the gist. If the estimate can be within a couple of orders of magnitude, I’d be surprised and impressed!
    Hence, it doesn’t take a degree in elementary rocket science to see that any current day measurements cannot really be cross referenced or directly correlated to the past major events. Sure, the volcano guys can obtain ‘clues’, but any more meaningful derivation/predictive capacity is, I fear, all but useless. (kind of similar to the alleged AGW problem, doncha think?, but anyways…)
    best regards
    Kev

  81. Myrrh,

    This little back-and-forth is beginning to look like a discovery document for a mediation process piling up in binders. People may begin to talk. But it’s fun, I must admit, hence my levity which you seem to be displeased about. Being clued-out about a lot of the science which almost everyone here seems to think should be easy, I don’t get a lot of opportunities to go in-depth on many things, so if I get my grip on something I can actually go on about, I hang-on for as long as I can.Your indulgence is appreciated.

    I cried “uncle” first and took a peek at Wiki…I try not to in most discussions here as I still vaguely feel as if it’s some form of cheating. The amusing bit that I didn’t know about is that “(the) expression ‘Common Era’ can be found as early as 1708 in English, and traced back to Latin usage among European Christians to 1615, as vulgaris aerae, and to 1635 in English as Vulgar Era.” This kind of puts a dent on your argumrent-from-tradition and on my assumption that the new terms are uniqely Jewish in origin. The sweet irony is that we are squabbling over what appears to have been a Christian inter-denominational theological squabble in Britain. Nevertheless, this reframes the whole issue by placing it within the tradition of British tolerance for religious dissent. To me, knowing a bit about the development of modern Jewish scholarship, it’s quite clear that it was the religiously liberal…not traditional Orthodox….Jewish scholars who took up critiques of Christianity and most likely adopted the BCE/ACE thing in kind of a declaration of independence from once clergy-ruled…i.e., polically correct for the times... universities. Moreover, traditionalist Orthodoxy, which you seem to think is behind this issue, is actually very timid about confrontations of any kind with either Christians or Muslims, owing to religiously-based proscriptions regarding interactions with legitimate authorities and a long memory of an “uneasy” coexistence under various Christian and Muslim regimes.

    Nevertheless, the terms “Christ,” the “Annointed One”…implying royal or messianic status…and the anno Domini…”year of the Lord”…were clearly intended as declarations of faith and a membership in religious community. That is very different from the use of the Pagan Roman names of the months; I’m sure that you can see the practical differences between a living, politically powerful religion and one that’s been lost in the mists of antiquity. To some sectors in the Orthodoxy, the anno Domini is, understandably, indistinguishable from a prayer or an affirmation of faith, especially as it was used in many formal documents such as “in this year of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

    So, when you ask me “…why not stick to BC/AD…?” my short and speaking-for-myself answer is that because I can now use, without risk, and for the first time in two millenia, an increasingly acceptable designation that identifies me as a non-Christian and one which doesn’t imply an affirmation of a majority belief. And no, no offense taken by me and I don’t construe any of your arguments as a general attack on Jews. Thank you for your consideration. It’s unfortunate that you may have been exposed to brethren of mine who are not as brilliant and pleasant as I am, but my reflexive bellicosity notwithstanding, I’m certain that while this may have coloured your perception of the specific issue, it didn’t spill into your general view of Jews. As someone in the modern Orthodox sector and as a “card-carrying” Zionist who gets into nuclear-level political disputes on other blogs, I think I have a pretty good nose for such things and the nose didn’t twitch this time. What irks me, I must admit, is your assumption that those of us who prefer BCE/ACE are somehow part of the fairly recent push for “political correctness” and the demeaning assumption that we get “apoplectic” over the issue. I argued the first assumption and regarding the second one, I’m struck by the irony of an over-the-top, totally mis-directed and overly strident opposition by you and others here to what I see as a relative non-issue, a voluntary and personal choice that shouldn’t impede on anyone’s enjoyment of life. What happened to just matter-of-factly asking the reasons for one’s position, before jumping to conclusions and accusations?

    Two other points. First, the spelling “G-d” versus “God,” which you brought up for reasons I’m not sure about. The use of the “G-d” spelling is not universal, even among the Orthodox, but like other things Jewish appears to have spread a bit, as I’ve seen in some Protestant Christian, specifically Evangelical literature. I understand the rationale up to a point and use “G-d” occasionally, as a courtesy to some readers and tried to bypass what I think is a religiously unnecessary alteration by writing “Almighty,” but now I see that some are writing “Alm-ghty.” Nevertheless, we do have a tradition of accepting minor differences and customs without resorting to attacks in either direction, so I’m not going to go apoplectic on this one. Secondly, in your subsequent posts I see you referred to a Jacobovici, whom I presume to be Simcha Jacobovici. I went to university with the chap and we belonged to the same Jewish association. He is a fine and honourable individual, a brilliant thinker and a skilled and successful film maker, but without trying to cause offense to him, I strongly object to his approach to historiography, Jewish or other. I charge that he unwittingly promotes loonie-fringe pseudohistory, the kind that may be entertaining and popular, but the kind that has little bearing on reality and does disservice to both general and Jewish historiography. To those of us who struggle to keep the relatively new field of modern Jewish historiography within the rationalistic and science-oriented mainstream, his contributions resemble Erich von Daniken’s “contributions” to archeology or Egyptology. It’s a hard thing to go on record about someone I have known personally, however peripherally (we had common friends, but I doubt he remembers me), and someone I admire for other qualities, but it irks me…there’s that word again…to see Jewish historiography finally slip out of the theistic claws of the ultra-traditionalists and to fly right into the mess in the cauldrons of populist pseudohistory. Just an opinion.

  82. And on the Earthquake Quackery Front:

    Earth is cracking up, warns scientist: ‘Something is seriously wrong’
    By MichelleDevlin (Rovinj : Croatia | Apr 16, 2012 at 10:08 AM PDT)

    A leading Romanian earthquake scientist has warned that a series of massive earthquakes in the past 48 hours could be a sign that the planet is literally cracking up.

    Thirty-nine earthquakes have rumbled around the globe in the last two days, and Romania’s National Institute of Earth Physics expert Gheorghe Marmureanu is warning this could have serious implications. According to a report published in today’s Croatia Times: “The series started with two massive quakes in Indonesia measuring 8.6 and 8.2 on the Richter scale rapidly followed by three more only slightly smaller in Mexico within hours.

    “There is no doubt that something is seriously wrong. There have been too many strong earthquakes,” said Marmureanu. He added: “The quakes are a surprise that cannot be easily explained by current scientific knowledge. With the Indonesian quake for example, statistically, there should be one big earthquake in this part of Asia every 500 years. However, since 2004, there were already three quakes with a magnitude of over 8, which is not normal.”

    In Sweden, meanwhile, the sinkhole that appeared last week is getting bigger and bigger, bringing terror to nearby residents whose houses border the gigantic hole.

    Could the two be related? Is the earth literally cracking up? While no further media outlets have reported upon this scientist’s prediction or hypothesis, there does appear to be a great deal of activity occuring in the earth’s crust. In Mexico City the sleeping giant Popocatpetl awoke again on Sunday for the third time this year and spewed vapour gas, ash and smoke into the skies over the country’s capital city, putting its residents on high alert.

    Could it be the polar shift? The re-alignment of poles could cause huge earthquakes.

    There are many who believe that we are on the brink of an enormous shift into another dimension.

    Is this the beginning of the Earth’s ascension into the Fifth Dimension?

    Or are we all doomed to die?

    Practical advice would be to get some water and tinned goods in – say enough for a week.

    Stay calm, have faith in the universe and meditate or pray with love in your heart. Do something special with your loved ones, and above all else keep an open mind to all that you experience in the coming times – there are great wonders in this universe which we are yet to discover, or to understand.

    Stay tuned.

    Yup, “stay tuned”…to something… would be a good advice. And yes, by all means, store some water and food for a week, because a week’s worth of canned beans will make all the difference to our 3687 heads in the fifth dimension or with the North Pole up our butts.

  83. I want to insure all of you that Greeks or Hellenes this particular time have different things to worry about.
    Corrupted politics have already destroyed our economy. Volcano isn’t going to make it worst….!

    A Geologist from Greece,

    teaching in a public school for 700 euros per month.

    ps1: you can use the B.P. (before present) instead of B.C. or A.D.

    ps2: we had one of the coldest winter of the last two decades at least.

    ps3: ancient Greeks were ”believing” in Nature forces so they tried to explain them. The result was SCIENCE. New Greeks are believing in money and the Christ, the result is bankrupt……

  84. Peter Kovachev says:
    April 18, 2012 at 6:49 am
    Myrrh,

    This little back-and-forth is beginning to look like a discovery document for a mediation process piling up in binders. People may begin to talk. But it’s fun, I must admit, hence my levity which you seem to be displeased about.

    Not at all, maybe I should have left in the sentence I wrote to your first paragraph, let’s see, something about were you sure you should be announcing your sd proclivities on such an open board..? I hope I don’t disappoint you again..

    Being clued-out about a lot of the science which almost everyone here seems to think should be easy, I don’t get a lot of opportunities to go in-depth on many things, so if I get my grip on something I can actually go on about, I hang-on for as long as I can.Your indulgence is appreciated.

    You have it. I been finding recently that many discussions I thought should be intelligible with a little application, that weren’t swamped with mathematics and obtuse terms, have become easier to follow now I’ve understood the majority here work to a completely different physics to mine.

    I cried “uncle” first and took a peek at Wiki…I try not to in most discussions here as I still vaguely feel as if it’s some form of cheating. The amusing bit that I didn’t know about is that “(the) expression ‘Common Era’ can be found as early as 1708 in English, and traced back to Latin usage among European Christians to 1615, as vulgaris aerae, and to 1635 in English as Vulgar Era.” This kind of puts a dent on your argumrent-from-tradition and on my assumption that the new terms are uniqely Jewish in origin.

    Hmm, I took a look the wiki page and I think they’re not making it clear that it was a general term in distinct contrast to regnal years, I think this is what they mean when they use the word “notation”, and that, as it also says, goes back to the 6th century, of Christian origin . Oh, before I go any further with that, it says there, on the wiki page:

    “Use of the CE abbreviation was introduced by Jewish academics in the mid-19th century. Since the later 20th century, use of CE and BCE has been popularized in academic and scientific publications, and more generally by publishers emphasizing secularism or sensitivity to non-Christians.”

    So the actual use of it as an abreviation was as I was told, introduced by the Jews from whence it travelled into general academe together with its accompanying meme – “emphasising secularism or sensitivity to non-Christians”.

    However the phrase common era and era vulgaris and so on was used to distinguish calendar time specifically in contrast to regnal dating, and that goes right back to Dionysius in 525 to avoid giving Diocletian standing, a way of writing him out.

    ” The year numbering system used with Common Era notation was devised by the monk Dionysius Exiguus in the year 525 to replace the Diocletian years, because he did not wish to continue the memory of a tyrant who persecuted Christians.[16] He attempted to number years from an event he referred to as the Incarnation of Jesus,[16] although scholars today generally agree that he miscalculated by a small number of years.[17][18] Dionysius labeled the column of the Easter table in which he introduced the new era “Anni Domini Nostri Jesu Christi”[19] Numbering years in this manner became more widespread with its usage by Bede in England in 731. Bede also introduced the practice of dating years before the supposed year of birth[20] of Jesus, and the practice of not using a year zero.[21] In 1422, Portugal became the last Western European country to switch to the system begun by Dionysius.[22] ”

    So, it’s the wiki use of ‘notation’ that’s bothering me, I think as they use it here it is confusing as it gives the appearance at quick skim as if Dionysius was using the actual term Common Era as if it existed then, but as they give it, he went straight into creating Anno Domini and their use of it is merely in contrast to the other system, regnal dating, and, that it is actually itself created by Dionysius to be in contrast to regnal dating. And, if the phrase ‘common era’ was used in some books more than a thousand years later, so what? It was still in contrast to whatever legal regnal dating was being used, meaning ‘of the people’, common to all, and might well have been to avoid associating the works with any particular monarch rather than some statement against association with Christianity, which in English ‘common’ would have natural association with Christian – at that time there were no ‘Atheists’.., the Church dominated. Ah, just a thought, it was around then that the first stirrings of real protestant rebellion against the Church were taking place, the use then could also have had something to do with this directly – not against its connection with Christ, but its connection specifically to the Latin monopoly of the Church. And iirc, this first grew from what is now the Czech Republic, Jan? on the tip of my tongue.., who translated the Bible into his vernacular, got burned at the stake. So possibly that as the first book it’s been found in was by Kepler. Huss! I’ll check. Yes. http://everydaysaholiday.org/jan-hus-czech-republic/ Considered the forerunner of Protestantism. Kepler studied in Prague and was a Lutheran. So its use in those books could have been to distance themselves from the Roman Catholic Church.

    So, my point still stands. CE was introduced by the Jews deliberately to distance themselves from AD connection with Christianity, so there’s nothing secular about that introduction regardless the claim for it.

    The sweet irony is that we are squabbling over what appears to have been a Christian inter-denominational theological squabble in Britain. Hmm, I must get in the habit of reading through a whole post first…

    Nevertheless, this reframes the whole issue by placing it within the tradition of British tolerance for religious dissent.

    None at all. Catholics still can’t sit on the throne.. And those that went to America went to where they had free rein to persecute others deviating from them.

    To me, knowing a bit about the development of modern Jewish scholarship, it’s quite clear that it was the religiously liberal…not traditional Orthodox….Jewish scholars who took up critiques of Christianity and most likely adopted the BCE/ACE thing in kind of a declaration of independence from once clergy-ruled…i.e., polically correct for the times… universities. Moreover, traditionalist Orthodoxy, which you seem to think is behind this issue, is actually very timid about confrontations of any kind with either Christians or Muslims, owing to religiously-based proscriptions regarding interactions with legitimate authorities and a long memory of an “uneasy” coexistence under various Christian and Muslim regimes.

    Well, I’ll take your most likely adopted with a pinch of salt, as I’ve said, my discussions were wide ranging and detailed and I’ve no reason to doubt the knowledge of this from ivory tower Orthodox and Liberals alike. But anyway, it still therefore comes from a particular belief system wanting to distance itself from another – this isn’t secularism.

    Nevertheless, the terms “Christ,” the “Annointed One”…implying royal or messianic status…and the anno Domini…”year of the Lord”…were clearly intended as declarations of faith and a membership in religious community. That is very different from the use of the Pagan Roman names of the months; I’m sure that you can see the practical differences between a living, politically powerful religion and one that’s been lost in the mists of antiquity. To some sectors in the Orthodoxy, the anno Domini is, understandably, indistinguishable from a prayer or an affirmation of faith, especially as it was used in many formal documents such as “in this year of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

    Which is why its use doesn’t bother me, my objection only to its presenting itself as secular. But as above, it’s beginning not lost in the mists of time, it was created by Dionysius as he created the concept common era – so either way, you’re honouring a Christian beginning… As for the pagan Roman names not causing the same offence, well, I think I’m correct in saying that these are only in use from the Roman Catholic connection, Orthodox don’t use these. For example, Saturday is from Saturn in Western Christianity, while for the Orthodox is still the Sabbath day. I think you’d object to using the Orthodox for Sunday.

    So, when you ask me “…why not stick to BC/AD…?” my short and speaking-for-myself answer is that because I can now use, without risk, and for the first time in two millenia, an increasingly acceptable designation that identifies me as a non-Christian and one which doesn’t imply an affirmation of a majority belief. And no, no offense taken by me and I don’t construe any of your arguments as a general attack on Jews. Thank you for your consideration. It’s unfortunate that you may have been exposed to brethren of mine who are not as brilliant and pleasant as I am, but my reflexive bellicosity notwithstanding, I’m certain that while this may have coloured your perception of the specific issue, it didn’t spill into your general view of Jews. As someone in the modern Orthodox sector and as a “card-carrying” Zionist who gets into nuclear-level political disputes on other blogs, I think I have a pretty good nose for such things and the nose didn’t twitch this time.

    Ah, now, there’s an argument to be had… Though it wouldn’t be allowed on this blog, but I’ll leave you with a question, with no further elaboration, why has the dictionary definition changed?

    What irks me, I must admit, is your assumption that those of us who prefer BCE/ACE are somehow part of the fairly recent push for “political correctness” and the demeaning assumption that we get “apoplectic” over the issue.

    Ah no, perhaps I didn’t make myself clear. As I was told it, the designation was introduced by those who still get apoplectic about Christ, and this was then jollied along into mainstream academe with the claim that it thus avoided giving offence to non-Christians, note the word offence, that’s what makes it ‘politically correct’ as the idea grew from this that secular would avoid upsetting those who took such things seriously. As you said, it could be construed by some that BC/AD was a statement of faith, and I do appreciate how important such a thing is, not only to Jews. I was only commenting on its claimed origins being secular, which it clearly isn’t from the trusted information I received. In other words, it is still from a statement of belief, the Jews first began using it as abbreviation in place of BC/AD. As I was thinking about this when I posted earlier and nudged by some of the alternatives suggested, I couldn’t think of anything that could be actually secular to replace it, but I’ve just had a thought, Year Zero is going spare… :) BZ/AZ?

    I argued the first assumption and regarding the second one, I’m struck by the irony of an over-the-top, totally mis-directed and overly strident opposition by you and others here to what I see as a relative non-issue, a voluntary and personal choice that shouldn’t impede on anyone’s enjoyment of life. What happened to just matter-of-factly asking the reasons for one’s position, before jumping to conclusions and accusations?

    Well, I hope I’ve made it clear where I stand on this. My input was only to point out that it couldn’t really be classified as being secular. As well known that it was introduced by the Jews, so, it comes from a particular view/belief system. And this is what I think is upsetting those who get upset about it, even if they didn’t know how and why it was first introduced deliberately to replace BC/AD, it has had the effect of making BC/AD politically incorrect, and that aspect is becoming more prominent.

    Especially recently in Britain, now become politically incorrect to even wear a cross on show in some companies for example, while allowing other belief systems to continue with their personal expressions, Sikhs allowed to wear turbans instead of whatever regulation head gear and so on. Where pc correctness has gone to the extreme of so ‘protecting’ the interests of other belief systems that some want to stop calling Christmas, Christmas. It has become an attack. It’s become an attack under the guise of being pc, that’s touted as being for secular reasons, but is part of the growing movement which has actively penalised Christians, a nurse getting sacked for telling a patient she would say a pray for him, iirc. This may not have spread across the pond yet..

    My gripe is solely about “political correctness” being used to justify it. That’s what I find offensive anyway, to have that concept become sacrosanct, so while I don’t object to its use, I do object to BCE being presented as coming out of secularistic ideals, just because it aint true, and because this effectively hides the insidious use it’s being put to which is actively making Christianity alone non pc among belief systems by some determinately targetting it, for whatever their reasons, by denigrating the use of BC/AD – ‘and we should have no objections to using BCE for the greater ideal of secularism’. That’s were I get a sense of humour fail… :)

    Two other points. First, the spelling “G-d” versus “God,” which you brought up for reasons I’m not sure about. Just because I knew it. The use of the “G-d” spelling is not universal, even among the Orthodox, but like other things Jewish appears to have spread a bit, as I’ve seen in some Protestant Christian, specifically Evangelical literature.

    Well I can understand how it’s spreading… :) But, in some discussions I had on line it would have seriously offended if not used, even the Liberal Jews used it out of deference.

    I understand the rationale up to a point and use “G-d” occasionally, as a courtesy to some readers and tried to bypass what I think is a religiously unnecessary alteration by writing “Almighty,” but now I see that some are writing “Alm-ghty.” Nevertheless, we do have a tradition of accepting minor differences and customs without resorting to attacks in either direction, so I’m not going to go apoplectic on this one.

    I didn’t think you would, and as we see, some will go even further to change other words too because it matters to them, but again, in no discussion was I ever demeaned by anyone suggesting I, or others, should use it, no one made us blush if we didn’t.

    Secondly, in your subsequent posts I see you referred to a Jacobovici, whom I presume to be Simcha Jacobovici. I went to university with the chap and we belonged to the same Jewish association. He is a fine and honourable individual, a brilliant thinker and a skilled and successful film maker, but without trying to cause offense to him, I strongly object to his approach to historiography, Jewish or other. I charge that he unwittingly promotes loonie-fringe pseudohistory, the kind that may be entertaining and popular, but the kind that has little bearing on reality and does disservice to both general and Jewish historiography. To those of us who struggle to keep the relatively new field of modern Jewish historiography within the rationalistic and science-oriented mainstream, his contributions resemble Erich von Daniken’s “contributions” to archeology or Egyptology. It’s a hard thing to go on record about someone I have known personally, however peripherally (we had common friends, but I doubt he remembers me), and someone I admire for other qualities, but it irks me…there’s that word again…to see Jewish historiography finally slip out of the theistic claws of the ultra-traditionalists and to fly right into the mess in the cauldrons of populist pseudohistory. Just an opinion.

    Yes, he does give that impression at times, but he does ask some good questions. There were certainly ideas in his programmes, of those I saw, which I thought a bit odd, but I do think that Jacobovici may well be on to something in his Exodus one because of the information from various excavations and many now looking at the dating anomalies of the pharaohs – but I have to admit that at the time I became interested in exploring the dating from his programmes and found myself in a such a confusion of different opinions that it was quite beyond me to even work out who were in agreement about anything.. I gave up. I put it in for interest because of the Santorini connection, and because I found the programme enjoyable for looking at sources outside of the approach of ‘western’ mainstream archeologists – don’t get me going on how they’ve managed to convince the Indians they hadn’t a thought about anything prior to 2000 BC..

  85. Hi Odysseus,

    My heart goes out to you, brother. I have relatives all over Europe and it’s the same everywhere it seems, especially for educated people or specialized craftsmen. A friend is in Greece, lived here in Canada, and now is trying make enough money to get back with his mom. Trouble is, every time he does a repair or construction job, people try to pay him with food or household stuff. At least you get Euros…for whatever they’ll be worth.

    As for the coldest winter, you knowthe routine by now: It’s meaningless, abnormal local weather if it’s a cold-spell; a sign of catastrophic global warming if it’s a heat wave.

    Hang-on there, no doubt you know that both Greece and Israel are sitting on one of the biggest natural gas-finds ever…which is why they are forming an alliance… and if they play their geopolitical cards rights,Turkey and the Arab world will suck their thumbs and go back to sleep. The US will have to get itself a proper government first, though.

  86. Myrrh, So, yeah, read your stuff and looked again at Wiki and you’re right. The BCE/ACE is a Jewish invention, as I was told o-so many years ago. Unless we venture out of Wiki territory, but I’m too lazy for research right now. For a moment I was disappointed that it was the proto-Protestant dissenters who came up with it just to be ornery. Hus, btw, is a national hero to the Czechs, and even in the depth of the communist craze when I lived in Prague as a kid, the teachers treated him with awe. Somehow they made him out into a secular socialist hero…I don’t remember how…and then in ’67 when anti-Stalinist thaw began, they started going on about the religion, which totally messed up and freaked us out, all of us still being red-kerchiefed Young Pioneers and Comsomoltsi-Young Communist Leaguers……

    ……. hang on, one of my kids is harrassing me (very effectively too) for the big PC with Illustrator; I’ll move to my crappy little mini-laptop with the quirky screen and go blind, but who cares, it’s only Dad….

  87. God as G-d. I’ve often wondered if that goes back to “fence laws” of the Pharisees. These were “extra” laws set up to try and keep people from breaking the OT Law. The “sabbath day’s journey” would be an example. The Law says not to work on the Sabbath. The man-made “fence law” was that a you could not travel over a certain distance, called a “sabbath day’s journey”, to ensure that no one walked far enough on the sabbath to qualify as “work”.
    Back to G-d. A little background: the original Hebrew alphabet did not have vowels, only constanents. After the Babalonian Captivity, Hebrew began to be spoken less and less and Aramaic (Syriac) more and more. To help remember how to pronounce Hebrew, vowel markings were invented and added to the text. Two methods were used and eventually combined. One of the methods involved using a particular constanent and putting a dot over the top of it. The other more complete method involved putting patterns of lines and dots (kind of like braile) over or under any constanent. Each pattern by itself which stood for a particular vowel.
    Back to G-d, one of the 10 commandments said not to take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. So, missing the point of the commandment, the thinking was, “If I don’t say the name of God then I can’t take it in vain.” So waht they did was take the vowel marking for adonai (meaning lord or sir) and replace the vowel markings on Yahweh (or Yahaweh) with them. When they read, the vowel markings reminded them to say adonai instead of Yahweh. (Because of all that, to this day no one knows exactly how Yahweh is supposed to be pronounced.) I’ve often wondered if that might be at roots of G-d instead of God.
    A side note: One of the constanents of Yahweh is that constanent that, with a dot over it, is used as a vowel. It just so happens that one of the vowel markings on adonai is a single dot. That dot was placed over that constanent. Later when it was transliterated into English that was transliterated twice, first as a vowel then as a constanent. It also had another vowel marking under it. The word, if written in English as it would have appeared to a Hebrew would look a section of a crossword puzzel with an “o” above a “w” with an “a” under the “w”. Transliteration standards later replaced the “w” with a “v” and the “y” with a “j”.
    So the next time a Jehovah’s Witness comes to your door …………

  88. Myrrh cont’d ….

    Made it back, after a brief detour at the dish-washing station. So, you’re a Brit, then ? A Catholic from the North, perhaps? Ha! Catholics aren’t dissenters to the CofE…they’re still waving the semaphores at Phillip’s Armada, aren’t they? But not to worry, Parliament just ok’d women for the successions, so it won’t be long before you Papists get a shot at the sceptre and orb too too. That’s unless we beat you to it…I hear Lord and Chief Rabbi Sacks is about to retire! But I’m just kiding of course; the Muslims will get there before any of us.

    Ok, well, if you’d told me you’re a Brit and the issue was the pc craze, I’d have understood. And if you’re an Aussie, please accept accept my heart-felt condolences for Gillard and Gang…we’ll bring flowers and send emergency Canadian wheat shipments when your economy goes belly up a few months from now. But anyway, as annoying as pc can get, we need to keep a perspective on things. Most ordinary secularists, Muslims, Jews, gays and minorities would actually prefer not to have such a fuss made about them and resent being exploited for political purposes by their “community” or “religiouds leaders” and the oily sycophant politicians. Canada isn’t far behind, but as I keep boasting, I think we somehow lucked into the best government in the Western world…which means the entire world by default. But we do deserve it after decades of pink Liberal party rule and fake conervatives, the once-named “Progressive” Conservitive Party, if you can believe such inanity. The Mongol invasions would’ve been kinder.

    But a quick re-visit to the “dating” thing; I’m simply astounded that liberal Jewish bloggers would be offended at a non-Jew using BC/AD. It makes no logical sense to me. Not that I don’t believe you, but you should understand that you probably have a better connection to liberal Jews than I ever had. After the university days, where I stuck with the conservative and Zionist groups, I simply lost all touch with the liberal and secular Jewish culture. I blog in Orthodox circles (“modern” and “religious nationalist”) where we get the occasional religious Christian straggler and welcome them as long as they don’t annoy us by trying to spread the Good News. Wouldn’t dream of being stupid or rude enough to ask one of them to please abstain from using BC/AD, and can’t imagine any of my pals doing so either.

    Now to Jacobovici. Simcha’s “trick” or the “forcing” is in treating the Exodus both as an established historical fact and a central theological event. But the fact of the matter is that the theology and science relating to it cannot be harmonized at this time. A sprinkling of related factoids, place names, words and rulers does not empirically establish the reality or nature of a Jewish Exodus as biblically described, much less they casually assign a date for it, as Simcha and others do. I wish it were otherwise, but there is no corroborating evidence…as we understand historical evidence…that can satisfy the secular historian. Perhaps one day. Not that it personally bothers me; I fully accept the Exodus as fundamentally true, and I affirm its central message purely on faith-based grounds. On the issue of the Exodus I refer to the interpretations of past and living sages of ours and leave it at that. This thing that Simcha and many others do, this trying to make religious mysteries seem every-day, plausible and rational harm religion. Likewise, their “sexing-up” of history to make it fun and mystical, inspiring and relevant for everyone by adding a bit of religion here and there damages the science. Historiography is a “soft” discipline as our gear-head buddies here will sneer, it’s certainly not a precise science and may never be one, but it can follow the rules of and methods of science with certain limitations. And speaking of limitations, I must cease philosophising, must kick my eldest off my machine and get back to my project and tomorrow’s deadline.

    [Moderator’s Note: one moderator who teaches sociology of religion is becoming a bit concerned about the direction of this conversation. Keep it academic and don’t let it become personal. -REP]

  89. Shawn,

    An impressive summary, and I don’t impress easily. The fact that you misspelled consonants (not a big deal in view of the other tongue-breakers you did get right) tells me you didn’t just copy and paste. I had to read quickly for now until I can look at your post again and most of what you say seems factually accurate, although some of it I interpret differently. I must regretfully decline, though, elucidations or a debate unless to correct grave accusations or misinterpretations. Such I don’t see, apart from a minor one that I would personally qualify “man-made” as “inspired by authentic tradition.” Religious custom and rabbinic rulings going back to pharisaic times but mostly to the Middle Ages when no debate ever turned out well for us, prevent me from discussing and debating in-depth beyond the basics. These are still in force; a half century break from aggressive persecution has yet to impress the the rabbinic judges enough for them to relax their prohibition….maybe some future radical paskim will push for a relaxation in a century or two. Then, courtesy to the blog host prevents us from getting into off-topic religious discussions. And not insignificantly to my present predicament, my looming project deadline prevents me from further enjoyment at the keyboard for the time being.

  90. Moderator: I hear you loud and clear; my apologies and appreciation for your tolerance; I didn’t think any of you folks stayed awake for this kind of stuff. Myrrh and I got a bit over-heated earlier on due to a few misunderstandings but being reasonable chaps we meandered to happy grounds. In the end, even though we strayed from earthquakes a tad, we managed to return to the issue of science. Somehow. Miracles happen in the strangest places.Thank you for your hard work and good night .

    [REPLY: No apologies necessary. Confucious is reputed to have said “where three men are gathered, I can find one to be my teacher.” Teach me. No Baiting. A-Sholom. -REP]

  91. Moderator: Hey, wait a minute, I’m supposed to be the one learning here! And with hundreds of brainiacs gathered in this crazy joint you got going, my noggins is about to burst. Find a way to pipe beer and peanuts down through my cable next and I’m indentured “Property of WUWT” for life. Your confidence is appreciated; can’t promise to teach, but will do my best to amuse whilst holding onto a perfect snip-free record…well, with a very close call or two. Now, back to the galley-oars for me…I’ll make the deadline and manage a shut-eye too. B’shalom back to you!

    [Reply: We’re all galley slaves here. Voluntary galley slaves. ~dbs]

  92. Santorini (actual Greek name is Thira): beautiful island! I was there couple of years ago and visited Akrotiri. A little village which was burried under the vulcanic ash of the eruption / explosion1650 bC.. Really amazing to walk among the ancient buildings and imagine what life would be like in those days.
    Fresco’s were found inside the houses, showing the island covered with green-leaved trees/plants, . Nowadays only bushes and grass grow on Santorini.

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