With a population of 3 million people around it, Mount Vesuvius is considered by many to be one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world. Mount Vesuvius is known for its catastrophic eruption in 79 A.D. which killed most of the inhabitants of Pompeii and buried them in a layer of ash. Excavations reveal a tragic story of helplessness and loss of human life in the face of the monstrous cloud of ash and gas that enveloped the entire city with minutes of the eruption. As the volcano spewed for two days, Vesuvius was buried in a layer of ash of 4 to 6 meters, entombing the helpless victims and suffocating them with noxious fumes and baking them in heat reaching levels of 250 degrees Celsius.
Mount Vesuvius History
Mount Vesuvius is a composite volcano. Its mountainous height is formed from composite layers of lava flow, ash, and cinders from millenniums of eruptions. Its 79 A.D. eruption is known as a Plinian eruption. This type of eruption is the largest and most powerful type of volcanic eruption. One of the most recent and illustrious types of this eruption was the explosion of Mount Saint Helens in Washington State in which the whole top of the mountain was blown off. Its name comes from Pliny the Younger, the ancient historian who recorded what he saw when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D. These eruptions shoot a cloud of ash and gas as high as 50 km at extremely high speeds, forming a mushroom cloud. Ash, scoria, and lava bombs may be spewed for many miles from the summit. Lava bombs are fragments of lava over 65mm in diameter that are spewed in an eruption and cause damage, injury, and death by their impact.
Mount Vesuvius evacuation
Mount Vesuvius became quiet after the 13th century to the point of having shrubbery growing within its crater. In December of 1631, it roared back to life with an eruption that buried villages and killed about 3000 villagers. It has had 21 major eruptions since then. Its last was in 1944. Because of the regularity of its eruptions and the consistent parameters of gas and lava resulting from those eruptions, experts and officials have a plan that will evacuate around 600,000 people around Mount Vesuvius in a 14 to 20 day notice.