Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Mt.Vesuvius eruption 79 AD

For my research today, I tried to answer the question of why Pompeii was so badly affected by the eruption of Mt.Vesuvius in 79 AD. Pyroclastic flows swept the city and everything was buried under an extremely hot layer of ash. The city was preserved in time and there was one thing which astounded archaeologists the most when they rediscovered the city. This was the human remains which were found on the site. Although the exact number of people who died in the eruption is unknown, it is predicted that a large proportion of the city's population was killed. There are a few reasons which could explain why the eruption had such a big impact on the city's population. Firstly, although the locals were aware of the plumes of smoke rising from the volcano (a journal was found documenting the signs leading up to the eruption) no precautions were taken. They thought of it as the gods letting off steam therefore no actions were taken until it was too late. Like volcanic eruptions in the modern world, tremors and seismic activities were felt leading up to the eruption. They also chose to ignore this as they were unaware of what could come next. When the volcano finally erupted, the people were caught by surprise and didn't know how to react. Some chose to flee the city and it is likely these people survived as the only affect on them was ash deposits. Those who chose to hide in the safety of their homes were the ones killed. As the pyroclastic flow swept the city, the infrastructure was unable to withstand the speed and temperatures and thus people were buried and burned. The main reason why the eruption of Mt.Vesuvius was so devastating was the lack of awareness. In the modern world, this could still be the case particularly in LEDCs. If large volcanoes are not monitored, locals could be at an increased risk as precautions and responses will not be taken to ensure they are safe. This shows that raising awareness and having an efficient system of response is vital in reducing the impacts of natural hazards, even in the modern world.

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