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Mount Vesuvius

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Neha P

on 5 September 2014

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Transcript of Mount Vesuvius

Large scale map of Mount Vesuvius
This map shows the distribution of Vesuvius's features and movement of lava flow
Formation of Mount Vesuvius
Mount Vesuvius's formation began in the collapsed caldera of Mount Somma.

Mount Vesuvius
By Neha Pillai

Spatial change over time of Mount Vesuvius
Spatial change over time of volcanic features of Mount Vesuvius
A shallow magma reservoir was involved in the 1944 eruption of Mt Vesuvius volcano. This reservoir, feeding the 1944 eruption, was completely emptied and collapsed during the final phases of the eruption.
Impact on natural and human environment
Tectonic plate world map showing the location of Mount Vesuvuis
Tectonic plates involved in the formation of Mount Vesuvius and the type of plate movement

Mount Vesuvius was created when the African and the Eurasian plates converged into each other. The African plate subducted beneath the Eurasian plate.

Spatial association between Mount Vesuvius and plate boundary
There is strong spatial association between the location of Mount Vesuvius and other major volcanoes in Italy, and the Eurasian plate fault line*.
Location of Mount Vesuvius (region)
Mount Vesuvius is a part of the Campanian volcanic arc. It is a volcanic arc that consists of a number of active, dormant and extinct volcanoes in the Campania region of Italy.

Mount Vesuvius is located in the Campania region of Italy, to the east of the Bay of Naples
Mount Vesuvius
Mount Somma
Mount Vesuvius had a cone before the 79 AD eruption
This cone would have been blown off after the 79 AD eruption of Mount Vesuvius
This is how Mount Vesuvius looks today, with the Mount Somma caldera wall visible on the eastern side
Vesuvius's 79 AD eruption map
The pyroclastic flow destroyed the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.
Pyroclastic flow: a dense, destructive mass of very hot ash, lava fragments, and gases ejected explosively from a volcano and typically flowing at great speed.
Wind direction determined the ash fall pattern
79 AD
(painting of how Vesuvius may have looked like during the 79 AD eruption)
The most famous and destructive eruption of Mt. Vesuvius.

This volcanic eruption is the first to be described in detail in letters written by Pliny the Younger to the historian Tacitus. Pliny the Younger was stationed about 18 miles away in Misenum from which he could see the eruption and feel the preceding earthquakes.

This eruption led to the destruction of the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.

On 27th December 1760 a fracture opened up 3 km northwest of Boscotrecase on the southern side of Vesuvius. Fifteen vents opened and effused a large amount of lava. The cone of the central crater collapsed on 29th December diminishing the eruption.


An explosion occurred at the summit of Mt Vesuvius on 15th July 1794. A lava flow reached Torre del Greco at 6:00 am the following morning, destroying a large part of the town.

An eruption began on 23rd August 1834 and large amounts of lava were discharged.

24th August: a new vent opened on the eastern side of the volcano.

On 28th May 1858 lava flowed from six fissures on the northwest side of Mt Vesuvius volcano. Lava continued to flow until 1861 and reached Fosso Grande, Piano delle Ginestre and Fosso della Vetrana.

A series of earthquakes preceded an eruption of Vesuvius on 6th December 1861. Carbon dioxide emissions occurred in wells and cellars.

Timeline of Major Eruptions

Latitude: 40.821 North
Longitude: 14.426 East

Mount Vesuvius is a composite volcano located in the Gulf of Naples, Italy, approximately 9 kilometres east of Naples and a short distance from the shore.
East of Naples

On 10th December 1631 residents of Torre del Greco stated they heard the mountain roaring from the inside. This was the first activity at Mt Vesuvius in 500 years.

This was followed by pyroclastic flows, ash emission and secondary lahars. Lava flows began on 18th December 1631. Eruptions ceased by the end of December. This eruption killed more than 4000 people.

A large eruption of Mt Vesuvius began on 16th December 1631.A Plinian column erupted up to 28 km high accompanied by tephra fallout for a few hours.
Tephra fallout occurred on the eastern side of the volcano, sparing Naples.
Eastern side of Mount Vesuvius
Northwest of Boscotrecase
Souththern side of Vesuvius
Lava flowed towards Torre del Greco and Herculaneum until the end of December and destroyed several houses.

The coastline rose up to one metre.

A fracture opened 2 km NE of Torre del Greco, and could be seen from the sea. Eruptive vents opened on the upper part of the fracture resulting in one casualty.

An eruption began at Mt Vesuvius on 4th April 1906 when an effusive vent opened on the southern slope at an altitude of 1200 m.

4th April: Explosions of progressively increasing intensity and frequency occurred at the central crater of Vesuvius. Ash plumes reached a height of 2000-3000 m.

6th April: There was a relative lowering of sea level, of about 50 cm, on the shoreline between Torre del Greco and Torre Annunziata, together with the opening of new fractures.

7th April: the activity at the central crater of Vesuvius became stronger, with increasingly violent and frequent explosions. A break in the crater rim resulted in the lava fountains beginning to shoot lava to the northeast till it formed a giant arch spanning the crest of Monte Somma in the direction of Ottaviano.
The eruption finished on 21st April 1906.

A two week long eruption of Mt Vesuvius volcano began on 18th March 1944 with a lava flow from the summit crater.

21st March: Eruptions changed to explosive activity with eight lava fountains. The lava fountains increased with time.

The final phase of activity at Vesuvius began on 23rd March: Final phase of activity began with vulcanian activity the eruption finished on 29th march 1944. This ended nearly 300 years of semi persistent activity of Vesuvius.

79 AD- 1631
Lava flows flowed between South and West of Mount Vesuvius
Lava flows flowed between South-east and West of Mount Vesuvius

1754- SE of Mount Vesuvius
1760- S of Mount Vesuvius
1794- WSW of Mount Vesuvius
Lava flows flowed between ESE and WNW of Mount Vesuvius
Long term effects
Short term effects
Social factors

Many lives would be devasted (no stable jobs, difficult to get back to previous lifestyle)
Lots of people would become homeless because of their houses being destroyed
Historical factors
Positive effects:

Data and statistics from Vesuvius's previous eruptions are helpful when making and improving management
Environmental factors
Economic factors
Technological factors
Positive effects:
Data and statistics from Vesuvius's eruptions have been recorded so that they can be analysed further and used in predicting future eruptions.
Positive impact
Farmers take advantage of the rich and fertile soil surrounding Vesuvius and so use it to grow and then sell the crops to earn money.
Mount Vesuvius attracts tourists and hence contributes to Italy's tourist based economy.

It would take a while for Italy to recover the lost money back.
Mount Vesius's large-scale eruptions often affect the economy of the country because if lava or poisonous gases flow into a city or town or if a land slide occurs, both these events can destroy the town or city.
This would cost the government millions of dollars in repairs and restoration of the town and to provide aid, food, water and shelter to the affected individuals.
Negative Impact
Negative impact: Could release poisonous or harmful gases into the atmosphere affecting humans, plants and animals. For example, in 79 AD the harmful gases from Vesuvius's eruption killed masses of people who made the decision to stay in Pompeii instead of fleeing.

Positive impact: Mineral rich volcanic soils - enriched by volcanic ash as a result of the trace elements contained in volcanic ash mixing with ordinary soil material. Hence farmers use the land for cultivation, especially as vineyards.
Environmental factors
Type of eruption
Plinian eruption:
- in such an eruption various materials called tephra is ejected into the atmosphere, creating a mushroom shaped cloud.
- It is the largest, most violent and most destructive of all types of volcanic eruptions.
- Named after the naturalist Pliny the Elder.
Social factors
The eruption caught the military by surprise and destroyed the air force planes stationed in the airport.
Negative impact:
27th August: a lava flow moved towards Mauro, widening as it descended. The lava flow destroyed 180 houses, leaving 800 people homeless, and covered 500 acres of land. Towards the end of the eruption, fishes died in a private pond at Pozzuoli.


The second fork of the lava flow surrounded the Volcano Observatory and stranded staff for days.
28th April: when the lava flow stopped there were spectacular eruptions at the summit. There was a crater collapse on 1st May forming a caldera.

On 26th April 1872 an eruption began with lava flowing from a fissure on the north-western side of Vesuvius. The lava blocked the escape route for 20 spectators who were killed. The lava flow forked at Observatory Hill.
Observatory Hill
One flow passed through Fossa della Vetrana and Fossa Faraone and destroyed the inhabited centres of Masa and S Sebastiano al Vesuvio.
Management Plan
Mount Vesuvius is considered to be one of the world's most dangerous volcanoes because of its close proximity to extensive urban areas and the population of 3 million people living nearby.
Mount Vesuvius was covered in vegetation
Large-scale eruptions denuded Vesuvius's slopes of vegetation. It soon came back but the top part of Vesuvius is still quite bare.
Lahars are a concerning problem especially during or immediately after an eruption. When the pyroclastic materials mix with large amounts of water, lahars are formed, which can flood and bury houses and towns.
Raised sea temperatures caused by the pyroclastic flows entering the water
Negative impact:
Mount Vesuvius already has an extensive management plan in case of alerts on a future eruption. It is comprehensively explained in the "Civil Protection Emergency Plan for Mt. Vesuvius".
Current management plan
Red zone has to be evacuated once high alert of an eruption is given

The red zone is the area immediately surrounding the volcano. It is in great danger if an eruption is predicted as it is subject to:
- pyroclastic flows
- hot ash
- lahars (if the pyroclastic material comes into contact with water)

Along with volcanic ash, the area could also be affected by lapilli*. The fallout of of these pyroclastic particles may also cause respiratory problems, damage to crops and problems to air traffic, rail and road.

*lapilli- small sphere shaped balls of volcanic ash that are ejected from a volcano during an explosive eruption
Falls within the yellow zone, but is subject to further danger such as floods and floods as well as the fallout of ash and lapilli
* fault line- a place where two tectonic plates meet
caldera- A large volcanic crater/depression caused by the collapse or erosion of a volcanic cone.

dense vegetation
crater- a bowl-shaped cavity or depression at the top of a volcano
Many people died in Mount Vesuvius's previous eruptions
In the 79 AD eruption, thousands of people died and their bodies were preserved in casts made by the pyroclastic flows
Technological factors
Negative impact: Pyroclastic flows can cause a disruption in communication and transport services such as mobile and internet services and public transport.
Positive impact: Strong media coverage, which may gain the volcano more recognition and hence causing people to visit the volcano to see the eruption.
Extension to the current plan
The plan explains that people, especially in the red zone, would have to be evacuated in case of an eruption.
This would be an exceptionally hard thing to do especially approximately 550,000-600,000 people live in the red zone.
The government made this plan assuming that 600,000 people could get out of danger in seven days, however for this plan to work the volcanologists must be able to predict an eruption within 20 days.
Even if the volcanologists are able to predict the eruption early enough, the government hasn't made an extensive plan regarding where the people will be housed.

Other regions in Italy to house evacuated people
The purple regions show the places with arrangements already made to accomodate 70% of the evacuated population.
Transportation has also been taken into consideration so that everyone in the red danger zone can be moved safely to refuge camps and centres in other regions of Italy. But they are presented in tables which are extremely complicated and confusing to read.

So the transportation routes and methods should be collated into a map because this would make it easy to understand as to what type of transport method and route should be used. Also the evacuated people would not have to worry about having the right table and carrying a lot of papers in an emergency situation.

Therefore the governement should make more housing facilities to accomodate the remaining 30% of the population so that no one is at a disadvantage.
Checkpoints and inventory
There should be an inventory with the names of the people who have to be evacuated so that the government can know the people who have made it safely to the accomodation centers.

The government should also set up a search and rescure team to make sure that everyone has been evacuated.

Meeting points should also be stationed at regular intervals along each route so that the amount of people that have been evacuated can be counted and controlled.

Planned routes
People from specific areas should have a specific route to follow so that the evacuation can be carried out in the most efficient and systematic way possible.
Mount Vesuvius and the region around it are major tourist destinations and the management plan does not explain the process of alerting and evacuating tourists.

Hence, if tourists are staying in the red zone, they should be given a copy of Vesuvius's national emergency plan so that they can be prepare. They should also be alerted about the dangers of the eruption if they are staying in the red, yellow or blue zones.

Making tourists aware of the emergency plan is the best way to ensure the safety of all.
The emergency plan should also be translated in various different languages because currently it is written in Italian and so not everyone would be able to understand it.
Previously the region only had a few houses and buildings but by 2006 was covered in man-made structures like houses, buildings, roads and other transport routes.
By 2006, the region around Mount Vesuvius had been highly urbanised and populated, when compared to 1944.
No tourism for a while because of people being afraid of the dangers of the eruption
Evacuation of people to temporary accomodation centers
Positive impact:
Volcanologists, film makers and journalists would fly into the country to experience and cover the eruption for personal and work purposes
Political factors
Positive impact: The government aids the affected and evacuated people by providing them with food, water and shleter.
Negative impact: The government has to spend valuable time and money aiding and making sure people are safe and have to put their duties on hold.
Emergency services

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80% of the vegetation is distributed in a clustered pattern around the bottom half of the volcano.
With the exception of a few groups of trees towards the top of the volcano.

Tourism increases as more tourists would want to see one of the "most dangerous volcanoes in the world
Positive impact:
There is strong spatial interaction between Mount Vesuvius and tourists because there is a movement of tourists from all over the world to Mount Vesuvius so that they can visit the volcanoes and the destroyed cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.
Security in evacuated areas
Hospitals and medical services for emergencies and treatment of injured people
Reserves and shelters to house stray or lost animals
Emergency supply shops to buy essential items like food, water and medicines
The zones to the East of the Vesuvius are the most exposed to pyroclastic fallout, as there is a probability of about 60% that wind will blow toward ENE to SE.

The highest damages would be produced by a WNW wind, toward the city of Naples, which fortunately has a very low occurrence probability (<1%).
The movement of lava flows in 1906, 1929 and 1944 is between the East of Vesuvius and the South of Vesuvius.
- During the 79 AD eruption the mouth of the Sarno River was almost entirely covered by volcanic deposits, changing its course.

The eruption pushed the coastline of Pompeii outwards by more than one kilometre.
Negative impact:
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