Mt. Vesuvius

Many of the world's great volcanoes, such as Vesuvius, Fujiyama, Egmont, and many others, are strato-volcanoes, with both lava flows and pyroclastic deposits


Vesuvio Volcano, Italy

"Volcano number: 0101-02= (according to Volcanoes of the World, 1994 edition)

Summit elevation: 1281 m

Location: 40.821°N, 14.426°E" (

"The rocks at Vesuvius are called tephrite.  A tephrite is basaltic in character and contains the following minerals:  calcic plagioclase, augite, and nepheline or leucite".(  Vesuvius is above a subduction zone.  The African plate is moving northward at about one inch per year and is slowly closing the Mediterranean basin.  As it moves to the north, the African plate is pushed beneath the Eurasian plate.


"Vesuvio (Vesuvius) is probably the most famous volcano on Earth, and
certainly one of the most, if not the most dangerous. It is also notable for
having produced the first eruption of which an eyewitness account is
preserved, in AD 79. Geologically, Vesuvio is particular for its unusual
versatility, its activity ranging from Hawaiian style emission of very
liquid lava, fountaining, and lava lakes, over Strombolian and Vulcanian
activity to violently explosive, Plinian events that produce pyroclastic
flows and surges." (

 See this picture and more by clicking here.

Aftermath of the eruption:

The eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in A.D. 79 (which was described by
Pliny the Younger) buried Pompeii, along with Herculaneum and Stabiae, under
cinders and ashes that preserved the ruins of the city with magnificent
completenessódown to the fresh colors of the wall paintings.


Pompeii was a flourishing port city, as well as a prosperous resort spot with many
villas for the more wealthy Roman citizens. The long forgotten site of the city was rediscovered in 1748 and has been
sporadically excavated since that time. The habits and manners of life in
Roman times have been revealed in great detail at Pompeii by the plan of the
streets and footpaths, the statue decorated public buildings, and the simple
shops and homes of the artisans. The houses and villas have yielded rare and
beautiful examples of Roman art.

Here is a picture of the ruins left perfectly intact by the destructive volcanic ash and lava:

As the explosion continued, Pompeii, as well as the nearby cities of Herculaneum and Stabiae, are covered in a pyroclastic flood of cinders, ash, and mud around 20 feet high. The eruption of Mt. Vesuvius covered the city of Pompeii leaving eerie statues of the community.  The foolish who choose to remain behind are trapped in this flood and preserved for centuries until the city was re-discovered in 1748.  Approximately 20,000 people were killed in this eruption.

The day of doom, described by Pliny the younger, a Roman soldier who sailed into the port of Stabiae to try to help some of the people
                 fleeing the volcano:

"Now the day begins, with a still hesitant and almost lazy dawn.  All
around us buildings are shaken.  We are in the open, but it is only a
small area and we are afraid, nay certain, that there will be a
collapse.  We decided to leave the town finally; a dazed crowd follows
us, preferring our plan to their own (this is what passes for wisdom in
a panic).  Their numbers are so large that they slow our departure, and
then sweep us along.  We stopped once we had left the buildings behind
us.  Many strange things happened to us there, and we had much to fear."(Radice, B., 1968, The Letters of Younger Pliny: New York, Penguin. )

Below is a picture of a dog that was killed and preserved by the massive eruption:

The following is a picture of a group of people who ran for shelter in a boathouse.  Notice how some of the people seem to be hugging each other:


The following is a list of known Mt. Vesuvius eruptions:
The eruptions before A.D. 79
The 3750 BP "Avellino" eruption
The A.D. 79 eruption
Eruptions from A.D. 79 until 1631
The AD 472 "Pollena" eruption
The AD 512 eruption
The 1631 eruption
The 1631-1944 eruptive cycle
Eruptive activity, 1632-1794
There are no signs of volcanic unrest at Vesuvius at the present time (February 1996).
Eruptive activity of Vesuvio obviously occurs in cycles that last several
centuries and alternate with repose periods lasting several centuries as
well. Each of these repose periods ends with a major (Plinian) eruption,
thus initiating an active cycle

For further information on the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that destroyed the city of Pompeii, please visit the following web page:

Or to see a virtual image of the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, please visit:


 ~ One interesting fact we have learned from studying Mt. Vesuvio, is that predictions can be made about
volcanoes, but they are never 100%. Researches can usually find a cycle, but these patterns don't always
occur the way that they are guessed to. It is possible to warn residents of some volcanic eruptions,
but they could happen at any time.
~The main reason that Mt. Vesuvio is so famous, is because of the A.D. 79 eruption. The entire city of
Pompeii was frozen in time by the lava and ash that came from the volcano.  Researchers are still today
uncovering the city, and learning about not only the volcano, but also of the ancient civilization.
~Because Mt. Vesuvio was one of the first recorded volcano eruptions, it can be used to understand the
patterns and cycles of newer volcanos. Even though the last eruption was in 1944, the volcano is still
monitored daily. This is for the safety of the people that live around it, but also the information is
compared to studies of other volcanoes.


Pompeii, Vesuvius:What Did the Eruption Look Like?


Vesuvius, Italy :

Radice, B., 1968, The Letters of Younger Pliny: New York, Penguin.

Vesuvio Volcano, Italy :