Encyclopedia of Geoarchaeology

2017 Edition
| Editors: Allan S. Gilbert

Pompeii and Herculaneum

  • Maria Rosaria SenatoreEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4409-0_103
The famous AD 79 volcanic eruption of Vesuvius buried the cities of Pompeii (Figure 1), Herculaneum, and Stabiae, as well as many villas located along the coast south of Naples in southern Italy (Figure 2). The event was described by Pliny the Younger in two letters that were sent to inform Tacitus that the eruption had killed his uncle, Pliny the Elder. It began with a phreatomagmatic explosion followed in the early afternoon of August 24 by a very intense explosive phase leading to the formation of an eruptive column 32 km high, elongated toward the southeast by stratospheric winds. Pliny the Younger compared the shape of the volcanic cloud to a Mediterranean pine. The pyroclastic products related to this phase consisted of pumice fall deposits that mantled the topography to the southeast as a uniform layer with decreasing thickness downwind from Vesuvius. The next day, August 25, volcanic activity changed as a result of collapse of the eruptive column within the volcano. Dense...
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Ciarallo, A., Pescatore, T., and Senatore, M. R., 2003. Su di un antico corso d’acqua a nord di Pompei. Dati preliminari. Rivista di Studi Pompeiani, 14, 273–283.Google Scholar
  2. Ciarallo, A., Pescatore, T., and Senatore, M. R., 2007. Le Saline d’Ercole. Primi risultati delle ricerche in corso per la localizzazione del sito. Rivista di Studi Pompeiani, 18, 203–204.Google Scholar
  3. Cinque, A., and Irollo, G., 2004. Il “Vulcano di Pompei”: nuovi dati geomorfologici e stratigrafici. Il Quaternario Italian Journal of Quaternary Sciences, 17(1), 101–116.Google Scholar
  4. Guest, J. E., Cole, P. D., Duncan, A. M., and Chester, D. K., 2003. Volcanoes of Southern Italy, Chapter 2: Vesuvius. London: The Geological Society of London, pp. 25–62.Google Scholar
  5. Pescatore, T., and Senatore, M. R., 2005. Il paesaggio naturale intorno Pompei prima dell’eruzione vesuviana del 79 d.C.: aspetti geologici e sedimentologici. In Pescatore, T., and Senatore, M. R. (eds.), Congresso Scienze e Archeologia: Giornate di Studio. Le Scienze Ambientali. Pompei 23 Ottobre 2003. Pompei: Fotolito Sicignano, Pompei editore, pp. 61–72.Google Scholar
  6. Pescatore, T., Senatore, M. R., Capretto, G., Lerro, G., and Patricelli, G., 1999. Ricostruzione paleoambientale delle aree circostanti l’antica città di Pompei (Campania, Italia) al tempo dell’eruzione del Vesuvio del 79 d.C. Bollettino Società Geologica Italiana, 118(2), 243–254.Google Scholar
  7. Pescatore, T., Senatore, M. R., Capretto, G., and Lerro, G., 2001. Holocene coastal environments near Pompeii before the A.D. 79 eruption of Mount Vesuvius, Italy. Quaternary Research, 55(1), 77–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Rolandi, G., Petrosino, P., and McGeehin, J., 1998. The interplinian activity at Somma-Vesuvius in the last 3500 years. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 82(1–4), 19–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Senatore, M. R., Stanley, J.-D., and Pescatore, T. S., 2004. Avalanche-associated mass flows damaged Pompeii several times before the Vesuvius catastrophic eruption in the 79 C.E. Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America, Denver, 7–10 November. Abstracts with Programs, 36(5), 308.Google Scholar
  10. Senatore, M. R., Ciarallo, A., Guadagno, F. M., and Grelle, G., 2010. L’applicazione del georadar e della sisimica a rifrazione nella ricostruzione dello scenario naturale antico. Esempi dal sito archeologico di Pompei. In Senatore, M. R., and Ciarallo, A. (eds.), Scienze naturali e archeologia. Il paesaggio antico: interazione uomo-ambiente ed eventi catastrofici, Museo archeologico nazionale, Napoli 14–16 ottobre. Roma: Aracne, pp. 211–216.Google Scholar
  11. Senatore, M. R., Ciarallo, A., and Stanley, D., 2014. Pompeii damaged by volcaniclastic debris flows triggered centuries prior to the 79 A.D. Vesuvius Eruption. Geoachaeology: An International Journal, 29, 1–15.Google Scholar
  12. Sigurdsson, H., Carey, S., Cornell, W., and Pescatore, T., 1985. The eruption of Vesuvius in A.D. 79. National Geographic Research, 1(3), 332–387.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze e TecnologieUniversità degli Studi del SannioBeneventoItaly