Perished: Pompeii and its People
Issue 389 August 26
: by Aemilius Crescens
Look up, see Pompeii over there? It is not there
Pompeii a city popular for its beautiful forum and
magnificent amphitheatres has crumbled to the ground.
Mount Vesuvius, the 9 kilometres Volcanoes east of
Naples, has erupted. Thousands of Pompeian have been
buried alive under the debris from the assault from
Vesuvius. Although Pompeii was not alone, the city of
Herculaneum was also a victim in the catastrophe.
All the clues were there, they just did not see it.
Mount Vesuvius is a composite cone Volcano (diagram
shown below), this means its eruptions typically have a
lot of viscous lava and pyroclastic flows (see picture 4).
The Volcano has been dormant for 600 years. This
beautiful Volcano erupted only yesterday. The attack
had been said to have lasted 19 hours on the day of
August 24
through to the morning of the 25
. After the
19 hours of pure horror, the enthralling city of Pompeii,
was muted to an eternity of silence.

Pompeii had been suffering from small
tremors weeks before the disaster, and the water source
has been drying up. The magma in Vesuvius had been
moving further and further to the top, while this was
happening, several earthquakes plagued the land of Italy
(we will get to what caused it later). Adimus Xtopherus
(a local geographer) has stated that Mount Vesuvius was
formed due to the African and Eurasian plate colliding.
These two plates have been languidly closing in on the
Mediterranean Sea for some time now, and the eruption
was almost a certainty. The two plates are both
continental (there are two types of plates - oceanic and
continental. The continental consists of a large land
mass and oceanic is a crust of the earth’s lithosphere
with a mass of water upon) therefore the collision was
continental-continental. Continental plates are of a high
density therefore when the two plates collide, the
denser, older plate subdues while the younger plate
goes over. In this case the African plate was the older
plate thus pushing beneath the Eurasian plate, into the
mantle which heated until it became magma, the
magma tried to push its way to the top, hoping to find a
weak spot. These types of collision formed the
Himalayas. This is shown below. (An example of what
formed Vesuvius). The African plate is the older plate
therefore it goes under the Eurasian plate, forming

Various well renowned scientists have declared that
there was a leak in the crust of the Earth and in that spot
we had magma leaking, the scientist have also said that
there was a rock acting as a barrier. The pressure within
the Earth was ever so surely increasing. .
Earthquakes are can happen when a massive
amount of pressure is released from the earth’s crust, in
the form of lava and when two tectonic plates shift
apart. This is caused by convection currents within the
Earth. The magma is making its way to the earth surface
with an incredible amount of force which fractured the
covering rocks. While the convection currents are
rotating it is pushing the magma toward the crust and by
doing so building up the pressure within the earth, when
the two tectonic plates finally split due to the pressure
they are up against lava spews out. .
The amount of lava that comes out depends
on how much pressure was built up, due to the rock
acting as a barrier the pressure was immense and when
the rock finally split the lava burst out, relieved. The
earthquakes acted as a sign for the Pompeian’s and the
smart ones would have decided to back their bags and

You may wonder why the people of Pompeii
even chose to live near a volcano. After all, Volcanoes
are not the safest thing around. But the advantages of
living near a volcano outweigh the disadvantages. The
land is very fertile so it is exceptional to farm on and the
volcanic rocks are rich in minerals. The chances of
Vesuvius erupting WERE very small and next time the
Volcano shows signs of an eruption lives will hopefully
be saved. It was ironic in a way, Pompeii was famous for
its fortune telling and the city believed firmly in it.
When the eruption occurred, the lava itself did
not kill anyone, the pyroclastic flow killed most.
Pyroclastic flow is a mass of very hot ash and gases that
come from the spewing of lava from the volcano.
This flow is incredibly fast, experts say it can
reach the speeds of 450mph; however this thick blanket
is heavier than air, so it fell to ground level, and guess
who was also on ground level, the Pompeian’s. The air
that they breathed had been replaced with hot thick ash
(reaching temperatures of 900 degree heat), the gas was
very concentrated and this ash had suffocated many a
Pompeian. .

Some may feel that the weather was the
problem and it was the cause of thousands of lives to be
gone. The pyroclastic flow gained extra speed from the
falling rubble from the volcano. Some would try to
escape to the sea like Pliny the younger, only to find that
the seas were too jerky and dangerous to ride on. Pliny
the younger had escaped from Vesuvius and wrote
details of the eruption to Tacitus. Those who did not die
to the hands of Vesuvius certainly died at sea. If you
were in the city at the time of the eruption, your death
was secured. Scientists are still wary of how many
Pompeian’s actually died, but to give you a hint, the
romans considered this a catastrophe and they lose tens
of thousands in battle. .
Some Pompeian’s and Herculaneum had escaped, others
had decided to hide in the boatsheds, In theory this
would have helped, but alas still this wasn’t enough,
scientists believe that being inside the boatshed was a
bit like being in a boiling saucepan, the heat boiled the
victims brain until it exploded, gory! .
However, the majority of Pompeian’s had been
killed by falling rooftops (after taking shelter in their
houses). The eruption was divided into two parts the
first part consisted of the actual dispersion of the lava,
pumice and basalt. The second part was the afterburner
with the pyroclastic flow and other gases intoxicating its
victims. Those who ran were just engulfed by the
pyroclastic flow and there position on their death was
held eternally, frozen in time.

Buildings were gone, the beautiful forum was
gone, and lives were gone. If you were to visit you would
find yourself standing on houses; the ash was 8-10ft
deep. The eruption had covered a colossal 65 acres of
Italian land, it was impossible to escape the eruption.
The rivers that flowed through the landscape were filled
with ash, not water. The eruption had completely
changed the passage of the Sarno River and it raised the
beaches. Therefore Pompeii is no longer on the coast or
next to the Sarno River. A short term effect of Vesuvius
was the wine. The price of wine rose significantly after
Vesuvius, Pompeian’s had planted their wine on the
slopes of Vesuvius. The handful of those who survived
had lost everything, and they had to relocate thus having
an effect on the economy of Italy. The ash had floated
down and lay on Pompeii this obstructed the sunlight
and chilled the earth; however this was not the most
major factor.
Still the eruption had a positive effect as well,
the eruption caused the slopes of the mountain to gain
EXTREMELY fertile soil, I am sure within years from now,
Italy will be able to produce vast amounts of wine and
will be one of the leading countries in wine exportation.
Theoretically this was caused by the intensive layers of
ash on top of volcanic soil from the eruption. This was an
unexpected, yet positive outcome to the eruption. Years
from now I am sure scientists (much smarter than
Pompeian ones) will have used the Vesuvius eruption to
their advantage, it will give them a chance to explore the
cultures of Pompeii in 79AD, to help future lives by
researching more upon gods deadliest creation, if the
Pompeian’s had not been frozen in time would
archaeologists lifetimes from now have an accurate
picture of Pompeii, would this opportunity be
presentable if Vesuvius did not erupt?
Pompeii has been frozen in time, doomed to an eternal
sleep. Foreigners will arrive to the city only to see
Pompeii and Italy are likely to thrive in the tourism
This is sure to be one of the most tragic events
in Italian history as well as European.

African plate Eurasian plate
A rock was blocking the
magma coming through
there by building up the
pressure within the earth
only to be let out.
Magma, which was slowly
making its way to become

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