The Eruption of Mt. Vesuvius and the Burial of Pompeii

Pages: 3 (968 words) Published: April 24, 2014
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 various eruptive materials. Stratovolcanoes are mostly common amongst subduction zones, which is where two tectonic plates meet and by which one plate moves under another and sinks into the mantle as the plates converge. Water is forced into the mantle, which forms magma. Less dense magma works its way through to the magma chamber. Eruptions of silica-rich magma form layers of ash and rock that eventually builds up a volcano to its cone shape. Eventually, the volcano explodes, just like Mt. Vesuvius did. (Watson 2011)

When? – Mount Vesuvius is hundreds of thousands of years old and has erupted over 40 times, including at least three significantly larger ones that preceded the eruption in 79 A.D. The volcano has not erupted since after 1944, and none of the eruptions that succeeded the one in 79 A.D. were as large or destructive as it. The Pompeian eruption started on the morning of August 24, 79 A.D., and it caught the local population by surprise; the people of Pompeii were quite unprepared for the eruption of Vesuvius, though the signs of impending disaster were there. (Santillo Frizell 2006)

Who? – The eruption in 79 A.D. buried the Roman cities Pompeii and Herculaneum, and also has an impact on the cities Oplontis,...
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