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Pompeii: A Volcanic Disaster Essay

1004 words - 5 pages

The volcanologists of today monitor changes in levels of seismic activity from the observatory on Vesuvius, because they know that the “increase of activity in the deep storage of magma causes both earth tremors and volcanic eruptions.” Scientists, through measuring seismic activity, can predict an approaching eruption months in advance. They also know that the activity of Vesuvius is recurrent, and that the “longer the intervals between eruptions, the greater the eventual explosion will be.“ The low-level activity of Vesuvius recently has relieved the build-up of pressure in the magma chamber. The cataclysmic eruption of AD 79 was connected with the extended period of inactivity that ...view middle of the document...

The earthquake of AD 63 caused a lot of damage to Pompeii, as we can see from repairs made to the buildings. Some areas seem to have been harmed more than others. There were areas where entire houses were demolished. They were then changed to agricultural land. The upper floors would have been particularly badly affected, and some buildings actually do have blocked-up doors at the top, showing that the higher floors had been abandoned, due to being harmed repeatedly. Damaged houses were being extensively repaired and redecorated at the time of the AD 79 eruption, and there was almost a continuous stream of jobs restructuring of public buildings in the Forum of Pompeii. Archaeologists found the oven of a bakery had suffered major cracking; it had been repaired and plastered over, but had then been damaged again, and building work was already in progress to mend this new damage. In the same block, three cesspits, or sewers in the street, had been dug out immediately before the eruption, probably to fix them. The sewers linked to latrines in the houses. Outside in the main street, a trench was found. It was cutting the entire length of the walkway, and went to a water-tower at the crossroads. All the seismic activity had interrupted the water, but people had been at work repairing it. Heaps of plaster, which must have been brought in ready for new decoration were quite common to see. Sometimes even the pots and compasses of the decorators are in position. But this was all before the worst.
The eruption lasted for more than 24 hours from its start on the morning of 24 August. Those who fled at once, with no possessions, had a chance of survival.The rain of ash and pumice, mixed with lithics, that rained down was not necessarily lethal. It is clear that many thought it would be best to take shelter and weather the storm. It...

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