Encyclopedia of Geoarchaeology

2017 Edition
| Editors: Allan S. Gilbert

Pompeii and Herculaneum

  • Maria Rosaria Senatore
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...
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

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