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Case study: Mount Vesuvius

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Jessica Edwards

on 25 March 2014

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Transcript of Case study: Mount Vesuvius

Case study: Mount Vesuvius

A drawing of the explosion in 79AD
A recreation of what Pompeii was thought to look like
A drawing of the eruption
Vesuvius is located on Italy's west coast, it overlooks the Bay and City of Naples and sits in the crater of the ancient Somma volcano. Vesuvius is most famous for the 79 AD eruption which destroyed the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Though the volcano's last eruption was in 1944, it still represents a great danger to the cities that surround it, especially the busy metropolis of Naples.

Map showing the location of Mount Vesuvius on the west coast of Italy.
what killed the people of pompeii?
In order for the molten lava to reach pompeii it would have taken around six days so why were so many people killed?
Many rich familes decided that instead of running and escaping the danger of vesuvius they would wait it out in the comforts of their own home. Little did they know that as soon as the lava reached pompeii it would destroy everything in its path.
When will be the next major eruption?
According to scientists [who have studied mount vesuvius for many years] they believe the range between major eruptions is 1500-2000 years. It has been around this amount of time since the destruction of pompeii and the eruption in 79 AD
The most famous and destructive eruption of Mt. Vesuvius occurred in AD 79. Greek and roman scholars (Strabo, Diodorus Siculus, Vitruvius, Vergil) already knew the volcanic nature of the mountain before this eruption. It destroyed many towns around Vesuvius. A detailed description was made by Pliny the Younger who observed the eruption from Cape Misenum at a distance of about 20 km from the volcano. During the eruption the uncle of Pliny the Younger (Pliny the Elder), admiral of the roman fleet based in Misenum, went to the rescue of the people endangered by the eruption and lost his life. We have no information on the state of Vesuvius immediately after the eruption of 79. The first account of continuing activity is from Galenus (c.172 AD) who testifies that "the matter in it (Vesuvius) is still burning". Dio Cassius in 203 AD reports a violent eruption heard in Capua, some 40 km from the volcano. Two large eruptions occurred in 472 and 512. Marcellinus Comes reported that, on the 6th of November, 472, "Vesuvius (...) erupted the burning interiors, caused night during the day and covered all Europe with fine ash".
Vesuvius is part of the Campanian volcanic arc, a line of volcanoes that formed over a subduction zone created by the convergence of the African and Eurasian plates. This subduction zone stretches the length of the Italian peninsula, and is also the source of other volcanoes like Mount Etna, the Phlegraean Fields (Campi Flegrei), Vulcano, and Stromboli. Under Vesuvius, the lower part of the subducting slab has torn and detached from the upper part to form what is called a "slab window". This makes Vesuvius' rocks slightly different chemically from the rocks erupted from the other Campanian volcanoes.
Since 1944, there have been hundreds of minor earthquakes in the region around Mount Vesuvius. The most serious earthquake rocked Naples in October 1999. The magnitude-3.6 quake was felt as far as 15 miles (24 km) from the base of the volcano and was of the same magnitude as a quake that occurred 17 years prior to the last truly major explosion that devastated Naples in 1631. http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/earth/collections/mount_vesuvius#p00h1dhw
Mt. Vesuvius erupted due to the pressure exerted by the magma in the Earth's mantle, which increased to the point where it had to find an outlet. The magma inside it was over pressurised and under very high temperature causing inbuilt stress that led to the eruption.
As a work performed in Japan has recently demonstrated, useful information on the
internal structure of shallow part of volcanoes can be retrieved using innovative
radiographic techniques based on cosmic-ray muons.
Cosmic ray muons are created when high
energy primary cosmic rays interact with
earths atmosphere.

Where on the map is mount vesuvius located?
How long would it have taken for the lava to have reached pompeii in 79 AD?
How long does it range between major eruptions?
What arc is the volcano part of?
when was the volcanos last eruption?
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