Mount Vesuvius

By: Mary Able
Emmanuel College

Mount Vesuvius

Mount Vesuvius is located on the western coast of Italy near the city of Naples. Vesuvius is the only active volcano in mainland Europe. Vesuvius’ most remembered eruption was in 79 AD and destroyed the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.

The eruption history of Mount Vesuvius is quite extensive. Vesuvius has had eight major eruptions in the last 17,000 years. As I noted above the eruption in 79 AD is the most remembered. The 79 AD eruption killed more than 16,000 people in the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. The two cities were buried with ash, mud, and rocks from the eruption. A picture below pictures the casts of hot ash formed around victims bodies in the city of Pompeii. The people killed suffocated from breathing in the ash and when their bodies were cast it revealed facial expressions and clothing. Some years later in 1631 Vesuvius entered a period of steadily activity. This steady activity included lava flows, and eruptions of ash and mud. In the 1700’s to the 1900’s violent eruptions created more fissures. In 1906 a violent eruption killed 100 people and destroyed the cities surrounding the volcano at that time. The last eruption occurred in 1944 during World War Two. This eruption hindered the Allied forces when they had to evacuate a naval base.

In conclusion this complex volcano has a long history of eruptions that have killed thousands and thousands of people and tortured the cities that surround it.


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