Mount Vesuvius Eruption 79 A.D. Essay

981 Words May 2nd, 2014 4 Pages
Mount Vesuvius

What? – Mount Vesuvius is a stratovolcano located near the bay of Naples in Italy (at the convergent boundary where the African Plate is being subducted beneath the Eurasian Plate), and it is mostly known for its eruption year 79 A.D. that buried the city Pompeii under a thick layer of volcanic ash. Although the destruction of the Roman cities Pompeii and Herculaneum is mostly mentioned when talking about the eruption, Mount Vesuvius also affected other cities such as Oplontis, Stabiae, and Nuceria. (Santillo Frizell 2006)

Stratovolcanoes – What? – Stratovolcanoes are tall, conical volcanoes that are heavily layered with hardened lava and volcanic ash. This layered structure is built up from the sequential outflow of
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(Santillo Frizell 2006)
The main reason why historians today have so much information of what happened is thanks to the vivid eyewitness account of Pliny the Younger (a Roman administrator and poet), and his letters to the historian Tacitus, which remain the only surviving evidence. For instance, Pliny’s account reveals that portents of disaster were present. His casual reference to earth tremors ‘which were not particularly alarming because they are frequent in Campania’ reveals that the eruption was preceded small earthquakes. (Wallace-Hadrill 2011) The Romans did not connect seismic activity and volcanic activity and grew accustomed to minor earth tremors in the region. Small earthquakes started taking place on August 20, becoming more frequent over the next four days, but the warnings were not recognized. (Jones 2004)

Burial of Pompeii – How? – The actual eruption lasted for more than 24 hours from its start on the morning of August 24. Those who fled from their homes at once did have a chance of survival since the descending rain and ash and pumice was not necessarily lethal for the first several hours. It was not until around midnight that the first pyroclastic surges occurred, caused by the progressive collapse of the eruptive column. (Santillo Frizell 2006) A stratigraphic study, now a standard reference, published in 1982 by Sigurdsson, Cashdollar, and Sparks suggests

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