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Delve into Santorini's geological marvels and volcanic risks

Embark on an epic journey to uncover the secrets of Santorini's famed caldera!

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CIVIS focus area
Climate, environment and energy
Open to
  • Bachelor's
  • Master's
  • Phd
  • PhD candidates/students
Field of studies
  • Engineering & Technology
  • Environment & Agriculture
  • Natural Sciences and Mathematics
  • Environmental sciences, Urbanism, Geography
  • Blended Intensive Programmes (BIP)
Course dates
20 January 2025 - 7 February 2025

This Blended Intensive Programme is a highly innovative educational module addressing a growing demand for skilled professionals, especially in geology, morphotectonics, chemistry, geochemistry, biogeochemistry, geoheritage with the ability to employ cutting-edge techniques for data analysis, interpretation, and modelling, as well as an aptitude to disseminate scientific findings in a way that accommodates the needs of a wide spectrum of audiences. On the preparatory stage, students will familiarize themselves with the key themes and methods of the field through 6 six-hour intensive online lectures held by different CIVIS partners, by a very motivated team of experts.

The summer school will take place in Fira in Santorini (Cyclades islands in the Aegean Sea, Greece), with intense volcanic activity and participants will have the opportunity to:

- Participate on field observations of the volcanic geomorphological features and tectonic structures

- Entail an overview of the state-of-the-art sampling techniques and highly sensitive analytical techniques in mercury speciation.

- Use Remote Operated vehicle (ROV) for seafloor exploration.

Why is Santorini Caldera ideal?
- Santorini, in the center of the Hellenic Volcanic Arc (Aegean Sea), epitomizes an active natural laboratory. Its volcanic history, accentuated by the iconic caldera, offers an immersive experience to understand the intricate layers of Earth's evolution. The project's focus is to uncover Santorini's diverse volcanic products and their role in shaping its captivating geological narrative. This unique initiative blends volcanism with an exploration of geomorphology, geochemistry, chemistry, biology, geoheritage crafting a transformative learning experience.

During the module, the students will engage in direct field observations of volcanic phenomena and tectonic assessments. They will also practice in portable instruments for continuous seawater measurements, while ultra clean sampling techniques will be key to obtain correct chemical analysis. Beyond that, the students will receive knowledge about the need of the marine technology in seafloor exploration as ROVs represent a state-of-art technology able to directly image the submarine environment. HD underwater videos and static images will be collected to create an ad-hoc toolkit for virtual reality exploration in the underwater environment. In parallel, at the end of the course, it is planned to clean the coastal area with the aim of practical relevance to protect natural marine assets.

The Blended Intensive Programme "Delve into Santorini's geological marvels and volcanic risks" is offered to students on Degree/Master's/PhD level from equivalent fields. The materials and experience gained from the programme evaluate the sustainability and continuity of the course in the following years among the same partners.

Main topics addressed

  • Environmental Sciences
  • Volcano-Tectonics
  • Marine Geology
  • Marine Chemistry
  • Geochemistry
  • Biology and microbiology
  • Biogeochemistry
  • Oceanography
  • Marine Technology

Learning outcomes

  • Define study area, plan, and perform field work.
  • Visualization of gathered data through the creation of maps.
  • Use of high-tech instrumentation (ROV) in coastal zone of Santorini caldera-recognition of hydrothermal fields.
  • Recognize the potential geological hazards.
  • Develop, validate, troubleshoot of chemical analysis.
  • Delivery of high-quality environmental data.
  • Learning about geo-heritage sites raising awareness in terms of sustainability and its indisputable merit.
Dates: 20 January 2025 - 7 February 2025 Total workload: 180 hours
Format: Blended ECTS: 6*
Location: Fira, Santorini, Cyclades in the South Aegean Sea, Greece Language: English (B2)

Contact: (Paraskevi Nomikou)

*Recognition of ECTS depends on your home university.

Physical mobility

The physical mobility part will be running from 3 to 7 February 2025 in Fira, Santorini, Cyclades in the South Aegean Sea, Greece.

In the 5 days course, the hands-on programme splits in two main sections:

1) Field work techniques, that include:

  • Determination of the morphotectonic features associated with volcanic eruptions/field observations of intense volcanic activity.
  • ROV: Optical imaging, seafloor exploration, data acquisition, analysis, interpretation.
  • Reconstructing eruptive parameters from field observations of pyroclastic deposits and Hazards.
  • Biological Relative Sea Level Indicators along rocky shores.
  • Measurements of physicochemical parameters in aquatic samples (temperature, salinity, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, pH etc.).
  • Basic principles of sampling (devices, cleaning procedures, sterilization, packing, safety, contamination risk etc.).

2) Analytical Techniques that include:

  • Determination of Total Hg and DGM via cold vapor atomic fluorescence spectroscopy (CVAFS; BROOKS Rand Model 3).The remainder of the DGM-purged sampled will be acidified for MMHg analysis. THg will be measured via CVAFS.
  • Determination of MeHg and MMHg.MeHg and MMHg will be analyzed via species specific isotope dilution gas chromatography sector field ICP-MS(online demonstration).
  • To investigate bioconcentration and bioaccumulation of Hg species along the local marine food web, we will demonstrate sampling of suspended particles, phytoplankton, zooplankton and local benthic biota. Particulate Hg on filters, plankton, and sediments will be analyzed via CVAAS.

Virtual part

The virtual component of the course will be running from 20 to 31 January 2025. 

Full-time lectures will be given by high-skilled professionals of the Universities of National and Kapodistrian of Athens (Greece), Aix-Marseille Université (France), Université Libre de Bruxelles (Belgium) and Stockholm University (Sweden). Students will gain comprehensive insights into the island's tectonic processes, both offshore and onshore, alongside a global perspective on active volcanic system dynamics, as well as, the sources of mercury pollution and its biogeochemical cycle in the marine environment. The programme includes a 10-day online course of 6 hours/day and merged as follows:

Day 1:

  • Geology and Volcanotectonics of Santorini Volcano
  • Marine Geohazards and mitigation actions
  • IODP–Expedition 398 “Hellenic Arc Volcanic Field”

Day 2:

  • Reconstructing the evolution and eruption histories of caldera volcanoes
  • Hazards at poorly known volcanoes
  • Modern monitoring of volcanoes

Day 3:

  • Group Presentations

Day 4:

  • Methods of trace metals analysis
  • Hg analysis and speciation in hydrothermal vents

Day 5:

  • Mercury bioaccumulation/Couplings to other biogeochemical cycles
  • Dimethylmercury in Hg’s biogeochemical cycle

Day 6:

  • Group Presentations

Day 7:

  • The modem Fe-rich coastal embayments and hydrothermal vents Santorini
  • Relative sea level changes-volcanic and crustal mobility
  • Neo-catastrophism and geoarchaeology of coastal vulnerability

Day 8:

  • Neotectonics in shaping Mediterranean archaeological landscapes
  • Impacts of geohazards and climate change at underwater and coastal archaeological sites
  • Archaeology in the Aegean Sea: indicators of relative sea-level change

Day 9:

  • Visualization through interactive maps
  • Disseminate scientific data using GIS applications
  • VR tools for Geosciences

Day 10:

  • Individual Presentations/test


This course is open to Bachelor's, Master's and PhD students enrolled in one of the CIVIS member universities, with an academic background and an interest in the following fields of study: Environmental Sciences, Geology, Marine Geology, Chemistry, Marine Chemistry, Marine Biology-Microbiology, Geochemistry, Oceanography, Marine Technology.

- A B2 level in English is required to enable students to follow the course.

- Critical thinking, work in interdisciplinary environment, team spirit are also desirable skills in order to follow the course.

NB: Visiting Students - Erasmus Funding Eligibility

To be eligible for your selected CIVIS programme, you must be a fully enrolled student at your CIVIS home university at the time you will be undertaking the programme. Click here to learn more about the eligibility criteria.

Students from CIVIS’ strategic partner universities in Africa cannot apply for participation in this course.

Application process

Send your application by filling in the online application form by 28 April 2024. Don't forget to include in your application the following:

  • CV 
  • Motivation letter 
  • Research Project Outlines 
  • Level of English (B2) - according to CEFR

Student's evaluation will be based on:

  • Association with the subject (Bachelor + Master+ PhD)
  • Research projects related to Environmental Sciences

Apply now


Students will be expected at the end of each day during the course to:

-Write a brief (half-page) report summarizing the key takeaways from each day.

-Use critical thinking to compare the chemical results with mercury legislation after completing the chemical analysis (also known as the "Benchmarking assessment")-with the completion of both practical and online courses, in order to evaluate their achievement on each task, students will take a 1 hour exam known as the "Diagnostic assessment " (successful mark exceeding or equal to 70%).

-It will be also required for students to fill out course evaluation forms.

Blended Intensive Programme

This CIVIS course is a Blended Intensive Programme (BIP): a new format of Erasmus+ mobility which combines online teaching with a short trip to another campus to learn alongside students and professors across Europe. Click here to learn more about CIVIS BIPs.

GDPR Consent

The CIVIS alliance and its member universities will treat the information you provide with respect. Please refer to our privacy policy for more information on our privacy practices. By applying to this course, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA)

  • Assoc. Prof. Paraskevi Nomikou, Faculty of Geology and Geoenvironment/Dep. of Geography & Climatology

She is a marine geologist who studies the morphology of underwater volcanoes with extensive experience in marine volcanic and seafloor extruding processes. She has participated in more than 90 oceanographic cruises that focused on submarine volcanism, fault zones, landslides and slope stability and the exploration of seafloor mineral deposits. The rapid development in the field of virtual reality piqued her interest and she has been actively involved in many projects raising public awareness. She has also been involved in the evaluation of the potential geohazards associated with onshore and offshore volcanic activity.

  • Prof. Kilias Stephanos, Faculty of Geology and Geoenvironment/Dept of Economic Geology and Geochemistry

He is actively involved in a variety of research areas spanning from biomineralogy and biogeochemistry, to classical metallogenetic-models, of ore deposits. For this purposes he is mainly using field mapping, ore microscopy, electron microscopies, fluid inclusion microthermometry and stable isotope geochemistry, and various spectroscopies (i.e. STXM).

  • Dr. Antoniou Varvara, Faculty of Geology and Geoenvironment/Dep. of Dynamic, Tectonic and Applied Geology

Her research activity has been concentrated on the dissemination of scientific data, especially the ones concerning Natural Hazards, using new technologies based on Geographic Information Systems. She has also expanded her activities in the field of Virtual Reality, intending to use this technology in the field of geosciences.

Aix-Marseille Université (AMU)

  • Dr. Lars-Eric Heimbürger-Boavida, CR-Charge de Recherche, Mediterranean Institute of Oceanography (MIO)

He is interested in the application of novel techniques to outstanding questions on trace metal cycling in the ocean, with an emphasis on low-level speciation, stable isotopes and sensor approaches. Much of his research addresses the fundamental questions of how much mercury resides in the oceans, how much we have added and which portion of it makes its way up the marine food chain.

  • Prof. Morhange Christophe, Aix-Marseille Université AMU-ALLSH-CEREGE (Centre Européen de Recherche and Teaching of Environmental Geosciences)

Director of studies Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (EPHE-SHP-Paris) Chair of archaeosciences and environmental history PSL-AOROC (Archaeology & Philology of the East and West). He is a geomorphologist with interests in coastal geoarchaeology and sea level change. His research tools include bioindicators (rocky and clastic coasts), sedimentology, geoarchaeology and underwater geomorphology. In the Mediterranean, his research focuses on the evolution of many ancient harbours. Using quantitative palaeoecological methods, he has moved from the characterisation to the quantification of human impacts both within and outside ancient harbour basins.

  • Assoc. Prof. Kalliopi Baika, Master of Maritime and Coastal Archaeology (MoMArch) - Scientific Coordination, A*Midex - Académie d'Excellence, Centre Camille-Jullian, CNRS

She specialises in Greek harbour archaeology and coastal geoarchaeology in the Aegean and Mediterranean. Her research has also been on the archaeology of submerged environments and the phenomena of anthropogenic development of the land/sea interface, from protohistoric periods to the present day.

Université Libre de Bruxelles (Belgium)

  • Assoc. Prof. Fontijn Karen, Department of Geosciences Environment and Society

She is a physical volcanologist interested in tephrostratigraphic studies of poorly known volcanoes, in order to constrain past eruptive behavior. This allows us to assess how the volcano behaves, and changes over time, and which can contribute to volcanic hazard assessment.

  • Ass. Prof. Corentin Caudron, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB)

His research is intimately associated with monitoring and imaging the Earth via geophysical approaches. He has mostly investigated the dynamics of hydrothermal systems and magmas, as well as the triggering and characterization of volcanic and limnic eruptions.

Stockholm University (Sweden)

  • Assoc. Prof. Sofi Jonsson, Department of Environmental Science

She is a chemist and her research focuses to improve our fundamental understanding on how mercury is methylated and bioaccumulated in coastal and oceanic systems. She has recently shown a new pathway for formation of dimethylmercury from monomethylmercury that could account for much of the dimethylmercury produced in seawater. Her research also contributes to understand how different sources or mercury are available for methylation and bioaccumulation in estuaries. She has also studied how future system changes, in increased terrestrial runoff (as predicted for some coastal regions because of global warming) may alter the methylation and bioaccumulation of mercury in coastal.

  • Dr. Bivolaru Alexandra (invited speaker), Research Grant Holder, Ca' Foscari University of Venice

Her work focused on geoarchaeology on archaeological sites in the Black Sea and Mediterranean (Venice included), as well as for her interdisciplinary research on the relationship between humans and the surrounding environment since the emergence of agriculture, examining processes of adaptation and resilience of ancient societies in face of environmental changes, and the transition from the Holocene to the Anthropocene.