The eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79.

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The stratigraphy of volcanic deposits is described and related to the eyewitness accounts of Pliny and Younger in chronologically reconstructing events of the AD 79 eruption of Vesuvius. Initial activity took the form of a small phreatomagmatic explosion that resulted in ashfall on the volcano and to the east, probably early on 24 August. The subsequent Plinian eruption began shortly after noon. It resulted in a fall of white pumice over districts south of the volcano for about 7 hours. Following this, the continuing Plinian eruption tapped magma of more primitive composition. On 25 August the first pyroclastic surge was generated. During the next 7 hours the Plinian eruption was interrupted 6 times by surges and pyroclastic flows. The first surge overwhelmed Herculaneum where it killed all remaining residents. Later surges were of progressively greater extent, with the 4th surge reaching Pompeii at about 7 a.m. on 25 August. Shortly thereafter the 2 largest surges were produced, which affected Stabiae and Misenum. -from Authors

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National Geographic Research





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