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Title Is Destruction Of Pompeii And Herculaneum. Re: The Immediate And Long Term Effects Of Eruption Of Vesuvius.

1687 words - 7 pages

HOW/WHY DID POMPEII AND HERCULANEUM DIE?WHAT WERE THE IMMEDIATE AND FUTURE EFFECTS?On the 24th of August, 79AD, the Italian volcano Vesuvius erupted. Many hours and six eruptions later, the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum were buried. The people, and their activities at the time of the eruption, were suspended for centuries in layers of lava, ash and pumice. Though a peasant discovered the remains of Herculaneum in 1710, it was not until 1860, when Guiseppe Fiorelli was appointed to Professor of Archaeology at Naples, that scientific excavation began. Slowly over the next one hundred and forty years, archaeologists battled against natural disasters, wars, the environment and even man himself, in a bid to uncover, investigate and preserve the secrets of these two ancient cities.Both towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum were built on prehistoric lava flow on the Campania Plains and within two to three kilometres of the base of Mount Vesuvius. The nutrients from the lava made both towns lush in vegetation and were once described by Pliny the Elder as 'one of the loveliest places on earth'. Pompeii was situated close to the Sarno River, their water source, and was further away from Vesuvius than Herculaneum. If viewing from the Bay of Naples, Pompeii sits to the right of the volcano. Herculaneum is situated on the Bay of Naples and was the closest of the two towns to Vesuvius. Viewed from the bay, Herculaneum sits to the left of the volcano. The locations of these two towns was to play a large part in the way in which they were later buried by the volcano.Though there had been some minor tremors in previous years, the cities had their first taste of real volcanic activity in 62AD. The roof of Pompeii's great basilica collapsed, as did structures throughout the town. Only a few people were reported being killed by this eruption, and because of this, the citizens of Pompeii and Herculaneum thought nothing of the small tremors that occasionally occurred in the following years leading up to the major eruption of 79AD. 'For several days we had experienced earth shocks, which hardly alarmed us as they are frequent in Campania' - Pliny the Younger.Haraldur Sigurdsson, an American Vulcanologist, reconstructed the events leading up to the eruption of Vesuvius in 79AD. By examining the grain sizes in the strata of volcanic material that covered the cities, and then comparing these results to Pliny's account, and the position and condition of the bodies found, he was able to put together an accurate account of the hours leading up to, and those during this destructive event .From these investigations, Sigurdsson found that there had been volcanic activity prior to the major eruption. Small tremors had been occurring since early August and the wells and springs had dried up. Though it is doubtful the inhabitants would have paid much attention to these signs given the previous 'quiet' history and minor damage inflicted by the volcano.The morning of the 24th August...

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