Archeologists think lava from ancient Greek volcano carried by tsunami to north Sinai

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TEL HABUWA, Egypt -- Egyptian archaeologists on Monday presented white stones of pumice that they believe a tsunami in ancient times carried 850 kilometers (530 miles) across the Mediterranean to north Sinai.

The pumice was discharged by a volcanic eruption in the ancient Greek island of Santorini in the 17th century B.C. Traces of this solidified lava foam that floats have been found in Crete and southwestern Turkey, but Egypt's archaeologists believe it also reached this site in the Sinai desert, about 7 kilometers (4 miles) south of the coast.

The Santorini explosion was devastating. It sunk most of the island and killed over 35,000 people of a thriving Minoan community.

The head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, Zahi Hawass, hailed the discovery as opening a "new field" of study in Egyptology.

"Geologists will help us study how...natural disasters, such as the Santorini tsunami, affected the Pharaonic period."

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