Tuesday, July 15, 2008

"Atlantis Apocalypse" History Channel Mega-Disasters


This Tuesday night, the History Channel Mega Disaster was “Atlantis Apocalypse.” The show examined the historical facts surrounding the eruption of the Colombo volcano around 1660 BC in the Santorini archipelago of Greece in the Aegean Sea. The eruption is said to have been 10 times the size of Krakatoa and 100 times St. Helens.

The Minoan civilization on Crete (with the site at Knossos and Phaistos) was apparently wiped out, and this could have had a great influence on ancient history. Minoa was apparently a very progressive society, with women’s rites and some advanced household technology, such as toilets. Many of the inhabitants disbanded and escaped before the catastrophe, which is said to have been described by Plato.

The documentary shows scenes from the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, and makes comparisons to what would have happened with Santorini.

The movie says that this area probably has a violent eruption about every 20000 years, so the case for immediate danger is underwhelming, whatever the name of the episode.

The History Channel has previously explored what could happen with Mt. Etna, near Naples, and the Discovery Channel presented a major reenactment of Pompeii in January 2004.

When I was living in Minnesota, I knew a college student who visited Crete during Christmas break in 1997, and some of the material in the film I had heard before.

In 1961, MGM released “Atlantis, The Lost Continent”, directed by George Pal. A fisherman (Sal Ponti) tries to deliver the Atlantean princess (Joyce Taylor) to the continent, when it will be destroyed by the eruption. But before that, we see man-beast slaves, and the “crystal”, with the mantra “destroy the crystal” leading to the destruction. Walt Disney studios also released an animated feature by this name in 2001.

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