• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What Really Happened at Pompeii on 24th August AD79?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

What Really Happened at Pompeii on 24th August AD79? Introduction On 24th August AD79, Mount Vesuvius, a large volcano overlooking the Bay of Naples, erupted. It is famous for the way that it destroyed the Roman town of Pompeii, and in doing so, preserved the agony of Pompeii's unfortunate inhabitants. This is shown above in this 17th century sketch showing the Vesuvius erupting. The fact that this sketch was drawn almost 2000 years after the eruption is typical of pictures and accounts of the eruption, as there is only one surviving first-hand account of the eruption, coming from Pliny the Younger, who was living with his uncle, Pliny the Elder, who was the admiral of the Roman Fleet at Misenum, a town at the North side of the Bay of Naples, the other side to Pompeii which was further south. Despite Pliny the Younger's first hand account of the eruption, there are many different theories as to what killed the people of Pompeii. Using various different sources, in this essay I aim to investigate what really destroyed Pompeii and killed the people of the town. Monte Somma Mount Vesuvius This picture shows the view of Mount Vesuvius from Naples. This is roughly the view that Pliny the Younger would have got when viewing the Vesuvius erupting. From the view in the picture above, Pompeii would be on the other side of the mountain. Monte Somma is the remnant of the Vesuvius before the eruption of the Vesuvius in AD79 and indicates that in AD79 most of the cone of the Vesuvius was blown away by the eruption. ...read more.

Middle

Later, when the energy of the blast was no longer strong enough to keep the dense column aloft, it collapsed and cascaded down the mountain in convulsive waves. Super-heated ash churned around ground-hugging rock and gas in a racing, burning avalanche. It was another pyroclastic flow. A pyroclastic flow is worlds away from a slow, predictable lava flow that early scientists thought has destroyed Pompeii. After these two eruptions, a new science in the understanding of pyroclastic flow developed. This picture above actually shows a pyroclastic flow occurring at Mount Saint Helens. The pyroclastic flow is seen in the area shown by the arrow. It is seen hugging the side of the mountain while the ash clouds rise above the pyroclastic flow. What amazed scientists who studied the eruptions at Mount Saint Helens and El Chichon was that burning rocks and ash could flow so fast and so powerfully, moving as if they were liquid. The flow is fluidised because it contains water and gas from the eruption, water vapour from melted snow and ice from the top of the volcano, and air from the flow overriding air as it moves down slope. There is more evidence that it was a pyroclastic flow that hit Pompeii, other than those discussed above. The case for the destruction of Pompeii by pyroclastic flow gained further credibility after the discovery of an ancient chamber near the AD79 sea front at Herculaneum. At Herculaneum, the deposits from the volcano caused the sea to retreat from the town, meaning that seaside villas in AD79 are now more than 100 feet from the sea. Archaeologists found hundreds of skeletons, most of the population of Herculaneum, hiding in the chamber. ...read more.

Conclusion

Four more surge clouds followed this, the last occurring at 8.30am. The 2nd hit Herculaneum and the 3rd ran out of energy just before hitting Pompeii. However, it made breathing in the city difficult. The fourth surge cloud killed the remaining people left alive in Pompeii. The boiling hot ash filled wind that hit the city at 300 km an hour killed them almost instantaneously. The final surge cloud swept the countryside around Pompeii and Herculaneum, killing many of those who had fled Herculaneum and Pompeii. Around 10,000 of Pompeii's residents are killed. 1pm Pliny wrote that, 'At last this dreadful darkness was attenuated by degrees to a kind of cloud or smoke, and passed away; presently the real day returned, and even the sun appeared, though lurid as when an eclipse is in progress. Every object that presented itself to our yet affrighted gaze was changed, covered over with a drift of ash, as with snow.' Heavy rain three days later caused the mudslide that buried Herculaneum. Pompeii remained buried and forgotten for about 1,670 years until 1592, although the plateau where it had once stood was always known as 'Civita', or the city. Finally, in 1748, Don Rocco de Alcubierre, a Spanish Engineer, heard rumours that workers had found the ruins of houses. He believed they might belong to the city buried in the eruption of AD79. In April of that year, Alcubierre started digging in the street that is now as Via della Fortuna. Over 250 years later, 4/5 of Pompeii has been excavated, and the excavations continue. Only just, over 2000 years, we are beginning to realise what really happened to the people of Pompeii on 24th August, AD79. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Rocks & Weathering section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Rocks & Weathering essays

  1. The aim of this report is to define the geological evolution of the area ...

    Using a geological map of the area we can show the underlying bedrock and with the use of cross sectional drawings show the lie of the rock and the direction of dip of the sandstone at location 1 - Wolf's Hole Quarry.

  2. I am trying to find out how footpath erosion on Pen Y Fan which ...

    been eroded deeper and is starting to erode around the sides of the footpath. This is because people do not want to walk on the stony footpaths and would rather walk on the side because it is grassy and more comfortable.

  1. Determining the paleoenviroment and tectonic history of a small area (Cocklawburn Beach)

    5: Coal - as the sea becomes a swamp or maybe even low land, trees fall in and coal is deposited as a top layer of the cyclotherms. After bed 5 the process begins again with a limestone layer at bed 6 to 10. This pattern recurs along the beach.

  2. 'I think that sedimentary stones will be more affected by weathering than igneous stones.' ...

    Please note however, that it is also argued that these lichen actually protect the stone because they prevent the rain, wind etc from touching the surface of the stone. Please see my pilot study for more detail about this and my own opinion.

  1. Investigate the relationship between the solid geology and the physical landscape from Ingleton to ...

    The evidence can be in the form of a photographic image (see insert), actual geological case studies or hand-drawn diagrams. However, the hand-drawn diagrams have little reliability as the illustrator may miss out important and complex details. Other factors, which may not have been completely reliable in the field study

  2. Find out why there is no Carboniferous Limestone visible around the Somerset area.

    There is a lot of additional information collected from a past fieldtrip to Blue Anchor. Here is a map showing the lack of Carboniferous Limestone in Somerset but there is some visible in Devon, Wales and in the Mendip area. The light blue in colour shows where the limestone is.

  1. Construct two Graphic Log Sections, one on the eastern exposure (ST 3375 6645) and ...

    Bioclastic limestone with calcite veins; bioclastic formed by a composition of broken fragments of pre-existing limestone, of shell or calcite crystals. Calcite has also being precipitated out forming calcite veins. Crinoid stem present suggests bed was near a reef, in shallow water. 2 Limestone with some tuff emerging into joints.

  2. In this Essay I will inform you of the social, economic and environmental advantages/ ...

    Also since there are many coloured metals(mainly oxides) that can be mixed into the glass without being reactive enough to displace the silicate, coloured glass can be made for ornamental use into glass artwork and stained glass windows. This can now be cut to miniature size and complex shapes to be used in Jewels, and is found in millions of spectacles, which without many people couldn't see.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work