Saturday, June 11, 2011

Eruptions of Vesuvius

Photo of Pompeii victims courtesy of Travel Adventures.

Tragically unable to escape the sudden volcanic eruption nearly 2000 years ago, these victims have remained frozen in time.

Mt. Vesuvius overlooks the Bay of Naples on the west coast of Italy. The only active volcano located on the European mainland, it has not erupted since 1944. Yet it remains dangerous.

In 79 CE, in a spectacular cataclysm, this volcano ejected enough lava, ash and gas to destroy and half-bury the nearby cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Today this type of eruption is called plinian, after Pliny, the historian who survived and described the event for posterity.

According to Jessica Ball, this mountain has experienced eight major eruptions in the past 17,000 years. The volcano is located only nine kilometers from Naples, a city of three million.

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