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Summit elevation:
1281 metres

Vesuvius is 1277 metres high. Circumference of it's crater is 1400m and 216 deep. Vesuvius is famous because of the year 79AD. It was the first volcanic eruption described by eyewitness, Pliny the younger, and recorded in his 2 letters.

He described the earthquakes before the eruption, the eruption column, air fall, mud flows, the effects of the eruption on people, pyroplastic flows, and even tsunami. Volcanologists now use the term "plinian" to refer explosive eruptions which generate high-altitude eruption columns and blanket large areas with ash. It is estimated that at times during the eruption the column of ash was 32 km tall. About 4 cubic kilometres of ash was erupted in about 19 hours.

About 23 m of ash fell on Pompeii and Herculaneum, burying everything except the roofs of some buildings. The city was abandoned and its location forgotten. In 1595, archaeologists discovered artefacts at Pompeii and centuries of pillaging (removing ash) followed. Archaeological excavations began in the nineteenth century. Now, much of Pompeii has been excavated and it has revealed much about how people lived during that time. There are numerous statues of people in their final moments, because lava was had very low density and so it was very quickly. About 3,360 people died in the 79 AD by eruption, ash flows and falls.

Vesuvius is a complex strato-volcano. Vesuvius is above a subduction zone. The African plate is moving northward at speed about 2-3 cm per year and is slowly closing the Mediterranean basin. As it moves to the north, the African plate is pushed under the Eurasian plate.

Today the population density in some areas of high risk is 20,000 to 30,000 per square kilometre. About 3 million people could be seriously affected by future eruptions. In the first 15 minutes of a medium to large-scale eruption an area with a 7 kilometres radius of the volcano could be destroyed. About 1 million people live and work in this area. There are no signs of volcanic unrest at Vesuvius at the present time (information from February 1996). At last time Vesuvius erupted in 1944.

Inner structure of volcano:
Advantages of volcanoes: rich soil, diamonds, hard rock, sulphur, geysers, hod mud, hot water, hot springs, creation of new land/islands (Surtsey)

Disadvantages of volcanoes: ash, dust, volcanic bombs, eruption, hot lava, poisonous gases, earthquakes, tsunami

Radoslav Husár 1A2,X 2002-02-04

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