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How Mt. Vesuvius froze time…

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Hey, Camp Fans!

Today is Mount Vesuvius Day, commemorating the terrible tragedy that took place nearly 2000 years ago in a place near Naples, Italy. After sitting dormant for centuries, one of the most deadly volcanoes erupted on August 24, in the year 79 AD. Volcanic ash filled the sky, blocking out daylight and raining down six inches of ash every hour. By the end of the eruption, roughly 15 feet of ash had Take a look at the world's most deadly volcano there is!accumulated.

The eruption destroyed the two Roman cities Pompeii (as well as the lesser known Herculaneum). Pompeii always steals the spotlight because four-times more people lived in Pompeii and also because of the peculiar way in which it was destroyed.

The ash rained down in such a way that it preserved everything perfectly when it buried the city in large amounts of ash and solidified lava. There were many buildings, remnants of the city, and most of all PEOPLE who were well-preserved and ‘frozen’ in time, just the way they were during their sudden and scary deaths!

Herculaneum, on the other hand, saw the death of 5000 (compared to Pompeii’s 20,000) people who were buried under 60 feet of not just ash and volcanic materials, but lots of MUD too! Body cast of victim of Pompeii eruption. The Roman city of Pompeii, located in the Bay of Naples, Italy, was ruined and buried under thick layers of ash during an eruption of the volcano Vesuvius in 79 AD. Many of those buried under the ash were killed by falling buildings or other causes, such as poisonous fumes. The city was rediscovered and excavated in the 18th and 19th centuries. The remains and impressions of over 1000 human victims have been found. Plaster casts of the voids left in the ash by the bodies show their poses, and are sometimes detailed enough to show facial expressions at the time of death.

I leave you with these three facts concerning Mount Vesuvius and its violent wrath:

1.) The people in Pompeii and Herculaneum truly did not see their deaths coming. They were very surprised when they looked up to see the frightful sight of this mountain spitting molten rock and other volcanic emissions. They didn’t know better than to take heed from the series of massive earthquakes that had been shaking the region—as we now would know.

It happened before. It could happen again.2.) We know that the terrible tragedy from 2000 years ago was not the first eruption from Mount Vesuvius and that it had previously erupted at least two other times. Recent excavations have pointed to the belief that it erupted almost another 2000 years before 79 AD. (1800 BC), again destroying large settlements of people in that region.

3.) Mount Vesuvius is still active! It last erupted in 1944 and experts say that it poses a threat to the 2 million people who now live in the area. According to them, it’s due for an eruption some time in the not-too-distant future.

If you happen to live in Naples or know someone there, tell them to beware warning earthquakes and hot lava! And, as always, thanks for reading.


- John


Posted in History Lessons


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