Anniversary of the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius - August 24

Mount Vesuvius Day commemorates the catastrophic eruption of the Vesuvius volcano that occurred on August 24, 79 AD, almost 2000 years ago, destroying the city of Pompeii and the surrounding area in one of the largest documented explosions in the history of volcanic mountains.
Two Roman cities, Pompeii and Herculaneum, were fried and buried with their inhabitants under the lava that erupted from the volcano.
If you are asking yourself why people lived so close to a volcano, then the answer is that Mount Vesuvius was dormant (inactive) for centuries before this eruption.
Pompeii and Herculaneum have never been rebuilt, but there are people still living near Mount Vesuvius! Nearly a million people live in the city of Naples nearby, and two million live in other places close enough to be in danger if there is to be another really big eruption.
According to scientists Mount Vesuvius is still considered an active volcano. It has erupted repeatedly (though not with the same intensity) since the great eruption in 79 AD: 15 times between 79 and 1000 AD, 8 times in the next 500 years, once in 1500, again in 1631, 6 times in the 18th century. 8 times in the 19th century, and once in the years 1906, 1929, 1944. No wonder scientists consider Mount Vesuvius  one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world!
In the eruption in year 79, thousands of people were buried under the volcanic material in Pompeii. In the city of Herculaneum most of the residents managed to escape because the current that got there was slower. In 1982, during excavations at the site, more than 200 human skeletons were discovered near the shore near Herculaneum, inside 12 boat houses, evidence that city dwellers were trying to escape to the sea but the heat or toxicity of the current killed them.
In 1748 the city of Pompeii was exposed. Italian archaeologist Giuseppe Fiorelli found a method of uncovering the remains. He poured wet gypsum solution into the cavities found inside the lava. Once the gypsum crystallized the layer of tuff (the volcanic ash that suddenly covered the city in 79) that enveloped the empty space was dismantled. The resulting model shows the position of the victim as soon as the volcanic ash cloud landed on him, caused his death and froze his condition. According to this pose, in which the victims were caught during the disaster it seems that some of them perished while sleeping. Models include: Individuals, Group of People and Animals.
A picture of a family that was captured and died within seconds in the volcanic current of Mount Vesuvius. The models are in the British Museum in London.

A virtual tour of Pompeii 

Satellite image of Mount Vesuvius, showing in artificial colors the radiation and thermal reflection of Mount Vesuvius and its surroundings, in an area of 36 by 45 kilometers. Vesuvius overlooks Naples and the Gulf of Naples in southern Italy. Link to the big picture from the NASA website.  

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