Facts about Mount Vesuvius

19 facts about Mount Vesuvius

The most dangerous volcano in Europe

Vesuvius gained its notoriety by destroying in 79 AD. Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabie. Since then, despite intermittent activity, shadows of terror spread over Naples and the surrounding area.
The height of Vesuvius today is 1,281 meters (4,203 feet),the depth of the crater 230 meters (754 feet),and the diameter between 550 and 650 meters (1 804 and 2 132 feet).
It is a stratovolcano located on the Gulf of Naples, overlooking Tyrrhenian Sea -an area known for its volcanic activity. There are two other active volcanoes at Tyrrhenian Sea - Stromboli and Etna.
It is a volcanic complex that includes Vesuvius and Monte Somma.
In the caldera of Monte Somma, which is a hollow in the top of the volcano, grew the cone of Vesuvius. From Monte Somma comes the term volcanic soma - the remnant of the caldera of a former stratovolcano, within which rose a new one, which is usually more prominent than the caldera.
At the same time, it is the only active volcano on the territory of continental Europe and one of three active volcanoes on the territory of Italy.
Mount Vesuvius is a stratovolcano.
Stratovolcanoes are cone-shaped mountains, consisting of multiple layers of lava and other pyroclastic materials that build up one on top of the other. Like classic cone volcanoes, stratovolcanoes also have steep slopes.
The beginning of the activity of Vesuvius is dated to about 25,000 years ago.
It was formed by the collision of the Eurasian and African tectonic plates. The water-saturated African plate was pushed into the lower layers of the Earth, where under the influence of temperature water evaporated and caused the melting of the rocks of the mantle. Concentrated as a result of this process, magma was pushed upwards under high pressure, where it came to the surface at the weakest point of the earth's crust, forming volcanoes that are part of the volcanic chains in the Campania area.
Vesuvius is one of the world's most dangerous volcanoes.
The list also includes Grímsvötn (Iceland), Cotopaxi (Ecuador), Mayon (Philippines), Popocatépetl (Mexico) or Nyiragongo (Democratic Republic of Congo).
Due to the size of the possible eruption, in the danger zone lives about 600 thousand people and 3 million may be affected by a potential disaster.
The crater of Vesuvius on the cone of Gran Cono is only 15 kilometers from the center of Naples. In Naples alone lives nearly 960 thousand people, and nearby there are also: Salerno (140 thousand inhabitants), Avellino (57 thousand inhabitants), Aversa (56 thousand inhabitants) or Caserta (85 thousand inhabitants).
The formation of the volcano began about 25 thousand years ago. Subsequent eruptions and lava flows caused the mountain to grow ever larger.
Another powerful explosion occurred about 19 thousand years ago, initiating the whole cycle of cataclysms that occur every few hundred to a few thousand years. A powerful eruption of VEI index magnitude 6 occurred 18,300 years ago, forming the Mount Somma caldera. Further devastating eruptions followed 16,000, 11,000, 8,000, and 5,000 years ago.
Around 1995 BC, the so-called Avellino eruption occurred. This was one of the first eruptions of Vesuvius that resulted in the annihilation of human settlements.
This event was larger than the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 and contributed to the destruction of many human settlements of the Apennine culture. On the Volcanic Explosivity Index scale, this eruption had a magnitude of 6, while the eruption of 79 had "only" 5. Representatives of the Apennine culture inhabited the entire Apennine Peninsula and were characterized by the construction of round houses on stone foundations, burials in caves and megalithic tombs, and the ability to breed animals.
After the eruption of Avellino in 1995 BC, the volcano passed into a state of more frequent but less dangerous eruptions.
This situation remained until 217 BC, when Vesuvius made its presence felt again. Apparently from 217 BC to 79 AD the area was quiet and the slopes of the volcano were covered with vineyards and gardens. During this blissful period of 295 years, people forgot about the hidden power of the mountain and probably therefore underestimated the earthquakes that preceded the destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum.