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§Of World Interest

Possible period of the Minoan eruption 1628 - 1600 BCE. Radiocarbon dates, including analysis of an olive branch buried beneath a lava flow from the volcano that gave a date between 1627 BCE and 1600 BCE (95% confidence interval), suggest an eruption date more than a century earlier than suggested by archaeologists. Evidence of a climatic event around 1628 BCE has been found in studies of growth depression of European oaks in Ireland and of Scotch pines in Sweden. Bristlecone pine frost rings also indicate a date of 1627 BCE, supporting the late 1600s BCE dating. Around the time of the radiocarbon-indicated date of the eruption, there is evidence for a significant climatic event in the Northern Hemisphere like failure of crops in China (see below) and evidence from tree rings, cited above: bristlecone pines of California; bog oaks of Ireland, England, and Germany; and other trees in Sweden. The tree rings precisely date the event to 1628 BCE.



King Jie was the last ruler of the Xia Dynasty of China, and is blamed for its fall. He reputedly mistreated his people and became a tyrant. Records from the later Qin dynasty say that during the last year of Jie's reign, ice formed during the summer mornings and frosts occurred through July. Heavy rainfall toppled buildings, hot and cold weather arrived in disorder, and crops failed. Some scientists correlate this event with a volcanic winter, possibly due to the Minoan eruption of Thera c. 1628 BCE.

Around 1600 BC, King Tang of Shang succeeded in defeating Jie, bringing an end to the Xia dynasty and founding the Shang dynasty.

The historian Sima Qian traces the origin of the Xiongnu people to Chun Wei, who was possibly a son of Jie. This theory has never been proven or disproven.

The LienĂ¼ zhuan biography of Mo Xi, a concubine of King Jie, claims she corrupted the king with her sexual prowess. Mo Xi was beautiful, but completely lacking in virtue. Among other things, she liked to drink, enjoyed music, and also had a penchant for jugglers and sing-song girls. Apparently, she had King Jie order a lake of wine made. Once it was finished, she commanded 3000 men to drink the lake dry, only to laugh when they all drowned.



The devastating Minoan eruption of Thera in the Bronze Age (dated to 1639-1616 BC via Radiocarbon dating; 1628 BC dendrochronologically; 1530-1500 BC archaeologically]) has become the most famous single event in the Aegean Sea before the fall of Troy. The eruption would likely have caused a significant climate upset for the eastern Mediterranean region. With an estimated Dense-Rock Equivalent up to 60 cubic kilometers, it was one of the largest volcanic eruptions on Earth during the last few thousand years. The name "Minoan eruption" refers to the Minoan civilization on Crete, which some scholars think was heavily disturbed by this eruption.


Third decade of 100 year epidemic that struck Egypt in 1650 BCE.


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Page last modified on August 30, 2016, at 11:38 PM