Mount Vesuvius: An Active Volcano

Essay by DSchaf26Middle School, 6th gradeA+, August 2007

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Mount Vesuvius is an active volcano in southeastern Italy, east of Naples. It stands at about 4200 feet at present but was much higher hundreds of years ago. This is because after each of its many eruptions, its crater collapsed a little making it smaller. Vesuvius is a stratovolcano or a composite volcano. This means that it erupts violently and quietly in an alternating cycle. The most famous of its eruptions was the A.D. 79 eruption that destroyed the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. This is when Vesuvius became active.

Before any eruptions occurred, Vesuvius was actually a very large caldera call Mount Somma, about 17000 years ago. When this giant crater collapsed, Mount Vesuvius began to form. After thousands of years Vesuvius was a large and powerful volcano. In A.D. 62 an earthquake occurred causing gases in the volcano to be forced outward and Vesusvius was ready to erupt.

Then 17 years later in A.D. 79, it happened. The volcano erupted very violently and sent ash and pumice into the cites of Pompeii and Herculaneum. The eruption lasted many hours and people soffocated in the toxic ash trying to escape. As many as 20,000 people were buried and killed in this tragic explosion.

Since A.D. 79 there have been many eruptions of Mount Vesuvius, the most recent being in 1944. In these eruptions, lava, volcanic dust, ash, cinders, and pumice spewed from the volcano, sometimes doing damage and causing suffocation. Some good things have come from this deadly volcano however. The soil near and around Vesuvius is very fertile and good for farming because of the ash that comes from Vesuvius. The ash and dust provides minerals fromm deep inside the Earth, helping the soil become rich.

Most scientist believe that Mount Vesuvius does not have very much...