Cochise College           Student Papers in Geology

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Roger Weller, geology instructor

wellerr@cochise.edu


Pompeii
by Frances Jacob
Physical Geology
Joann Deakin, instructor
Fall 2013
      

Pompeii

 

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Pompeii

            In 79 A.D., the vibrant Roman city of Pompeii along with many of its citizens was buried beneath tons of volcanic ash and debris when Mount Vesuvius erupted.  CITATION Nat \l 1033 (Owens, 1996-2013)  The sun and scenery attracted wealthy vacationers to the city of Pompeii and only five miles from Mount Vesuvius became a prosperous resort for Rome’s most distinguished citizens.  The cities paved streets were lined with elegant houses and elaborate villas.  Pompeii’s townspeople, slaves and tourists were known to rush in and out of small factories and artisans’ shops, taverns, cafes, brothels and bathhouses.   People joined together in the 20,000 seat arena and relaxed in the open-air squares and marketplaces.   CITATION Pom13 \l 1033 (Pompeii -- History.com Articles, Video, Pictures and Facts, 1996-2013)
 

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Mount Vesuvius Eruption History

Mount Vesuvius is believed to be hundreds of thousands of years old and has been erupting for generations.  In 63 A.D, a massive earthquake struck the Campania region as a warning rumble of disaster to come but people did not take heed to the warning and instead continued to flock to the shores of the Bay of Naples and Pompeii continued to grow more crowded every year.  CITATION Pom13 \l 1033 (Pompeii -- History.com Articles, Video, Pictures and Facts, 1996-2013)
 

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Mount Vesuvius has experienced eight major eruptions over the past 17,000 years but is most famous for the 79 A.D., eruption that destroyed the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.  When Mount Vesuvius erupted approximately 20,000 people were living in Pompeii and the surrounding region.  It is estimated that about 16,000 people were killed and it left the cities buried under a thick carpet of volcanic ash, mud and rocks as it “poured across the land” like a flood.   CITATION Pom13 \l 1033 (Pompeii -- History.com Articles, Video, Pictures and Facts, 1996-2013)  The people suffocated on ash in the air, which formed cast around the victims, covering them and preserving amazing details of their clothing and faces.     CITATION Jes13 \l 1033 (Ball, 2005-2013)  
 

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Although Mount Vesuvius has not erupted since 1944, it is still considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world.  It is believed by experts that another Plinean eruption is due any day.  “An almost unfathomable catastrophe, since almost 3 million people live within 20 miles of the volcano’s crater.”  CITATION Pom13 \l 1033 (Pompeii -- History.com Articles, Video, Pictures and Facts, 1996-2013)
 

Mount Vesuvius Geology and Hazards

            “The cone known as Mount Vesuvius began growing in the caldera of the Mount Somma volcano, which last erupted about 17,000 years ago.”  CITATION Jes13 \l 1033 (Ball, 2005-2013)  Most of the rocks that erupted from Vesuvius were andesite, an intermediate volcanic rock. The andesite lava creates explosive eruptions on a variety of scales, which is why Mount Vesuvius is especially dangerous and considered an unpredictable volcano.   CITATION Jes13 \l 1033 (Ball, 2005-2013)

 

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Pompeii Rediscovered

            “Pompeii remained mostly untouched until 1748, when a group of explorers looking for ancient artifacts arrived in Campania and began to dig.”  CITATION Pom13 \l 1033 (Pompeii -- History.com Articles, Video, Pictures and Facts, 1996-2013)  The explorers found that the ashes has acted as a preservative because underneath all the dust, Pompeii was almost exactly as it had been 2,000 years before. The buildings were intact, and the skeletal remains were frozen right where they had fallen.  The rediscovery of Pompeii has taught us a great deal about the everyday life in the ancient world and remains the world’s longest continually excavated archaeological site.

 

 

 

 

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Reference from the public:  http://www.venere.com/blog/articles/mount-vesuvius-history.html

References

http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/pompeii.htm

http://geology.com/volcanoes/vesuvius/

http://www.history.com/topics/pompeii

http://science.nationalgeographic.com/science/archaeology/pompeii/

Pictures are from my own collection from visit on 16 April 2006.