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Current Affairs

Vesuvius Volcano eruption

Date: 25 November 2020 Tags: Geography & Environment

Issue

The Italian Culture Ministry has announced the discovery of well-preserved remains of two men, who perished during the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. 

 

Background

The unearthed bodies are believed to be the remains of a man of high status aged between 30 and 40, and of an enslaved person aged 18 to 23.

 

Details

  • Archaeologists have preserved their teeth and bones, and the void left by their decomposed soft tissues has been filled by plaster using a well-perfected casting method by which it is possible to see the outline of their bodies.

  • Large parts of Pompeii city have been unearthed, and several artefacts and other items of interest have been discovered: all well-preserved thanks to the layers of ashes that covered these ruins.

 

Mt Vesuvius

  • Located in southern Italy near the coastal city of Naples, Vesuvius is the only active volcano in mainland Europe.

  • Vesuvius has been classified as a complex volcano (also called a compound volcano), one that consists of a complex of two or more vents.

  • It has erupted more than 50 times, and is considered among the most dangerous volcanoes in the world due to its proximity to Naples and surrounding towns.

  • Its last serious eruption was in 1944 during World War II, which left 26 Italian civilians dead and around 12,000 displaced.

 

Eruption of 79 AD

  • In 79 AD, the Roman Empire-era sister cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum were destroyed and buried during a catastrophic eruption of Vesuvius.

  • Pompeii served as a resort town on the Bay of Naples for Rome’s elite citizens, consisting of villas, cafes, marketplaces and a 20,000-seat arena.

  • Then in August of 79 AD, Vesuvius erupted, ejecting ashes, pumice, and extremely hot gases to a great height.

  • Pyroclastic surge poured down the side of the mountain, and began to flow over everything that came in its path. The city was buried under thousands of tonnes of volcanic ash.