Pompeii Essay

1557 WordsMar 27, 20127 Pages
In the year 79 A.D., the mountain “Vesuvius” erupted in Naples, Italy, filling the sky with ash, and blanketing the city of Pompeii at its base with tones of said ash (James Owen). A darkness descended over the Roman city, and the people in the city were no more. Over 1200 people were killed in the aftermath of this eruption – many buried alive by ash so quickly, they did not even have a chance to respond. 1150 of these victims have been recovered, but we may never know the true extent of the life lost (Gluseppe Luongo, 2003). Many people were discovered to have been using the bathroom at the time of their death, and did not even have the time to get up. A witness to the event, named “Pliny the Younger,” described what he saw on that day, “Darkness fell, not the dark of a moonless or cloudy night, but as if the lamp had been put out in a dark room” (James Owen). The darkness that followed the eruption was immediate, and immense. The Romans were incredibly interested in predicting the future, so it is ironic how such a spontaneous event took all the lives of this city. There were minor earthquakes leading up to Vesuvius’ eruption, but nobody had any idea of the magnitude of the disaster that lay in wait (Andrew Wallace-Hadrill). The actual eruption of the volcano lasted for almost a day – starting out seeming harmless enough, until the real threat hit. What is known as a “Pycroclastic Flow” hit the town after the first 20 hours of eruption, and that is what did the damage. This event occurs when ash, pumice, and other volcanic debris rides down the mountain on a cushion of super-heated gas, and sweeps over anything in its way. Reaching speeds of over 100 kilometers per hour, these phenomena are destructive, and annihilate anything in their path. As the residents of Pompeii would soon find out, it was them. Many at the time believed that the volcano would

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