Mount Vesuvius erupted on August 24, 79 AD. Here are some interesting facts about that disaster.
• The cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, were bombarded with volcanic debris for over 24 hours.
• Mt. Vesuvius is the only active volcano in mainland Europe and is considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world.
• Mt. Vesuvius is located on the western coast of Italy.
• The people in Pompeii and Herculaneum were taken by complete surprise when the volcano erupted.
• The eruption started in the morning as molten rock and pumice began to be expelled at a rate of 1.5 million tons per second. Copious amounts of rock and volcanic ash filled the atmosphere, turning day into night. It is estimated that about six inches of ash fell every hour.
• It is estimated that about 16,000 of the towns’ 20,000 inhabitants died in the eruption.
• The damage was so extensive and the effect of the tragedy so great that no attempts were made to reoccupy the area. Looters, however, did return to Pompeii, digging tunnels through the ash and debris and making away with many of the city’s riches.
• Historians believe that Pompeii was buried under 14 to 17 feet of ash and pumice. In 1748 when explorers examined the site, they found that the volcanic ash had acted as a preservative, and many of the buildings and even the skeletons and remnants of city life were still intact.
• Though the Romans didn’t know it at the time, Mt. Vesuvius had erupted catastrophically at least twice before.