Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD 79, and buried the cities of Pompeii, Opelontis and Stabia under ash and rock shards, and the city of Herculaneum under mud flux.
Mount Vesuvius, on the western coast of Italy, is the only active volcano on the European continent and is believed to be one of the most dangerous in the world.
Every resident died instantly when a town in southern Italy was hit by a lava temperature rise of 500 degrees Celsius.
Pyroclastic flows are a dense collection of hot gases and volcanic material that flow down the side of an erupting volcano at high speed.
It is more dangerous than lava because it travels faster, at speeds of around 450 mph (700 km / h), and at temperatures up to 1,000 ° C.
An administrator and poet named Pliny the Younger watched the disaster unfold from a distance.
Letters have been found describing what he saw in the sixteenth century.
His writings indicate that the volcanic eruption was unaware of the inhabitants of Pompeii.
Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD 79, and buried the cities of Pompeii, Opelontis and Stabia under ash and rock shards, and the city of Herculaneum under mudflow
He said that a column of smoke “like a pine canopy” rose from the volcano and made the surrounding cities black as night.
People ran for their lives with torches and screaming, and some cried as the rain fell and pumice for several hours.
While the eruption lasted for about 24 hours, the first lava waves began in the middle of the night, causing the volcano’s column to collapse.
A torrent of hot ash, rocks and toxic gases surged onto the side of the volcano at 124 miles per hour (199 km / h), burying victims and the remains of everyday life.
Hundreds of refugees who took shelter in the vaulted corridors of the seashore in Herculaneum were killed, clutching their jewelry and money.
Orto dei fuggiaschi (Garden of the Fugitives) shows the bodies of 13 victims buried by ashes trying to flee Pompeii during the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79
When people fled Pompeii or hid indoors, their bodies were covered with extra blankets.
While Pliny did not estimate how many people died, the event was said to be “exceptional” and he believed the number of deaths to exceed 10,000.
What did they find?
This event ended the life of cities but at the same time preserved them until archaeologists rediscovered them roughly 1,700 years later.
Excavations have given Pompeii, the industrial center of the region and Herculaneum, a small beach resort, an unparalleled insight into Roman life.
Archaeologists are constantly discovering more and more of the city covered in ashes.
In May, archaeologists discovered an alley of large houses, with balconies mostly intact and still in their original colors.
A plaster cast of a dog, from the house of Orpheus, Pompeii, 79 AD. Around 30,000 people are thought to have died in the chaos, and the bodies are still being discovered to this day
Some porches even had amphora – conical terra cotta vases were used to preserve wine and oil in ancient Roman times.
The discovery has been hailed as a “complete modernity” – the Italian Ministry of Culture hopes it can be restored and opened to the public.
Rarely found upper storerooms among the ancient city ruins, which were destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius and buried under up to six meters of ash and volcanic rubble.
Around 30,000 people are thought to have died in the chaos, and the bodies are still being discovered to this day.