Essay by jcortens November 2014

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By: Justin Cortens Pompeii

Volcanoes are very dangerous when they erupt. We understand this today but in the distant past people didn't even know what volcanoes were. The eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD was a big eruption right next to populated cities. People did not understand what was happening and because of this they lost their lives. Many dangerous hazards can come out of any volcano including gas, lahars, landslides, lava flows, pyroclastic flows and tephra's. The eruption on Pompeii did not have all of these characteristics and yet it wiped out thousands of lives and multiple cities.

Many hazards from the eruption could've killed many people single handily but all of them together form a new beast. The people of Pompeii could've possibly saved their lives if they had realized what was happening in the events leading to the eruption. The first sign of an eruption coming was the minor trembles in the city.

Once the volcano actually erupted, hot ash came up into the atmosphere. Once it cooled it started becoming solid and fell from the sky over the city. This was the first hazard that struck the city of Pompeii that day. Ranging sizes from golf balls to basketballs the rock could seriously injure someone if it hit them. The ash also covered the sun, which brought total darkness over the city. This was another element people had to deal with that day. Over time, the hard ash started piling on the roofs of houses. Houses began collapsing when the rock piled after hours of downpour. Suddenly people had nowhere to hide from the falling rocks. Turns out for them it was the least of their worries.

After the first eruption, some time passed before a deadly new element of danger entered. CO2 came down...