Vesuvius is the only active volcano in mainland Europe, and has produced some of the continent's largest volcanic eruptions. Located on Italy's west coast, it overlooks the Bay and City of Naples and sits in the crater of the ancient Somma volcano.
Facts about Mount Vesuvius
1. Elevation: 1,281 m
2. Coordinates: 40°49′N 14°26′E
3. Age of Rock: 25,000 years
4. Age of Volcano: 17,000 years
5. Volcanic arc/belt: Campanian volcanic arc
6. Last Eruption: 1944
History of Mount Vesuvius
Despite its age, which is 30 thousand years old, Vesuvius is still known to be an active volcano. It is monitored very closely for activity, as about 3 millions people live within range of its eruptions. Being known as a stratovolcano, also known as a composite cone, similar to other famous volcanoes such as Mount Fuji in Japan and Mount Saint Helens in the US. These types of volcanoes dangerous due to their highly variable content, and eruptive style. Plinian eruptions, which Mount Vesuvius has produced, result in plumes of ash ascending up into the stratosphere, high above the earth's surface. Mount Vesuvius can produce both eruptions of ash and pyroclastic flows, making it very unique.
Destroying Civilization left and Right
On August 24, 79 Mount Vesuvius literally blew its top, spewing tons of molten ash, pumice and sulfuric gas miles into the atmosphere. A "firestorm" of poisonous vapors and molten debris engulfed the surrounding area suffocating the inhabitants of the neighboring Roman resort cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Stabiae. Tons of falling debris filled the streets destroying everything in its path. Homes, stores, and even people were buried and undiscovered for almost 1700 years until excavation began in 1748.