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This is a drawing of the 1631 eruption of Mt. Vesuvius.
Click on image for full size
Image courtesy of: Dr. Boris Behncke. Artist: Giovan Batista Passaro This account of the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius was modified from the Vesuvio website.

The ad79 Eruption of Mt. Vesuvius

Around 1:00 pm on 24 August a tall cloud of steam and ash rose above Mt. Vesuvius and debris began to fall.

The city was soon covered in complete darkness, something which is familiar to people involved in eruptions such as those at Mount St. Helens, and Mt. Pinatubo. The people waited in their homes, hoping that the shower of rock would sooner or later come to an end. By the early morning (about 1:00 am, about 1.5 yards of debris covered the city of Pompeii.

Then, a fatal change in the eruption occurred. The cloud of ash no longer rose up into the sky out of the mouth of the volcano, but fell down the slopes of the volcano, forming glowing avalanches of hot flowing material which rushed rapidly down slope, destroying everything in their paths. With this change, the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum were destroyed in a matter of minutes.

Pompeii was rediscovered in the 18th century with many treasures intact. The reconstruction of the city gives a vivid idea of what Mt. Vesuvius is able to do.


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