Mount Vesuvius


  • Recently, The Italian Culture Ministry announced the discovery of well-preserved remains of two men, who perished during the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.

Mount Vesuvius

  • Located in southern Italy near the coastal city of Naples, the 4,203-ft (1,281 metres) tall Vesuvius is the only active volcano in mainland Europe.
  • Vesuvius has been classified as a complex volcano (also called a compound volcano), one that consists of a complex of two or more vents.
  • Vesuvius typically has explosive eruptions and pyroclastic flows –– defined as a high-density mix of hot lava blocks, pumice, ash and volcanic gas.
  • It has erupted more than 50 times, and is considered among the most dangerous volcanoes in the world due to its proximity to Naples and surrounding towns. Its last serious eruption, lasting two weeks, was in 1944 during World War II, which left 26 Italian civilians dead and around 12,000 displaced.

Back to basics

The eruption of 79 AD

  • In 79 AD, the Roman Empire-era sister cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum were destroyed and buried during a catastrophic eruption of Vesuvius.
  • Pompeii, 8 km away from Vesuvius, served as a resort town on the Bay of Naples for Rome’s elite citizens, consisting of villas, cafes, marketplaces and a 20,000-seat arena.
  • In 63 AD, a major earthquake rattled the city, serving as a warning for the eruption to come. However, few residents bothered to abandon the region, known for its volatility.
  • Then in August of 79 AD, Vesuvius erupted, ejecting ashes, pumice and extremely hot gases to a great height, allowing the explosion to be seen from hundreds of kilometres away. A contemporary account described it as a “cloud of unusual size and appearance.”
  • The debris then began drifting to Pompeii and its feeling residents. Conditions later worsened as a pyroclastic surge poured down the side of the mountain, and began to flow over everything that came in its path. The city was buried under thousands of tonnes of volcanic ash.

Archaeological excavations

  • Pompeii was largely forgotten for the next 16 centuries, until explorations began around 1750 on the orders of King Charles III of Bourbon.
  • Since then, large parts of the city have been unearthed, and several artefacts and other items of interest have been discovered: all well-preserved thanks to the layers of ashes that covered these ruins.

Source: Indian Express

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