We commemorate the eruption of Mount Vesuvius on Vesuvius Day, which takes place on August 24 every year. Though most of us don’t know what a volcano eruption looks like, we can assume that the earth rumbles and groans as it starts to boil and roll. Volcano eruptions are also marked by the appearance of a cloud of dark ash that moves with the winds, and spreads far and wide. Finally, bright and extremely hot molten rock flows down the hill to destroy nature and human life. These are just a few of the markers of a volcano eruption. However, it is believed that the eruption of Mount Vesuvius has been one of the deadliest ones in history. On this day, we remember the lives lost to this eruption.
History of Vesuvius Day
The first major earthquake occurred in 62 A.D. This resulted was destruction across the Bay of Naples, especially Pompeii. Even though there were a few small earthquakes that occurred days before the actual eruption, no one estimated that the destruction would be so wide scale. The loss of life was massive along with the total annihilation of architecture and farmlands. Apart from Pliny the Elder, there were only a few other casualties whose names have been recorded. This included Drusilla, the Jewish princess, and Agrippa, her son. Some believe that Caesius Bassus, a poet, had also died in the eruption. By 2003, roughly 1044 casts were made from body impressions in the deposits of ash that had been discovered from Pompeii and the surrounding areas. The scattering of bones added another 100 lives lost to the eruption.
Mount Vesuvius is best known for its eruption in 79 A.D. This eruption killed over 1,000 people, and razed the cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum and other, smaller settlements to the ground. Mount Vesuvius has erupted many times since, and is regarded as one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world due to the large population living in its proximity. Being only nine kilometers from Naples, an eruption can endanger the lives of as many as 3,000,000 people. The summit of the volcano was formed by the collapse of an earlier mountain structure, which means that the mountain used to be much higher than it is now. Today, Mount Vesuvius holds the notorious title of being one of the most dangerous volcanoes of the world despite its immense beauty.
Vesuvius Day timeline
Vesuvius starts forming in the Codola Plinian eruption.
The style of eruption changes to a sequence of large explosive Plinian eruptions.
Mount Vesuvius erupts in 1944.
The area around Vesuvius becomes a national park.
Vesuvius Day FAQs
When did Mount Vesuvius erupt?
In 79 A.D., the peak of Mount Vesuvius exploded. It resulted in the propelling of a 10-mile mushroom cloud of ash and pumice into the stratosphere.
What day did Mount Vesuvius erupt in Pompeii?
The eruption of Mount Vesuvius took place on August 24, 79 A.D., destroying the city of Pompeii and killing thousands
Is Mount Vesuvius still an active volcano?
Mount Vesuvius is the only active volcano in mainland Europe. Since its eruption in 79 A.D., the volcano has erupted more than 50 times.
How to Observe Vesuvius Day
Make a model volcano
Make a model volcano as you did in your school days, and make it erupt. This can be an especially fun Vesuvius Day activity if you have a kid at home.
Visit Mount Vesuvius National Park
Mount Vesuvius is a beautiful area to visit. On Vesuvius Day you can explore the mountainside, and even inside the craters that are filled with shrubbery and various plants.
Learn about volcanoes
On Vesuvius Day, learn all about eruptions, different volcanic features, including volcanic cones, lava domes, fissure vents, and much more. You can also find out if you have volcanoes near where you live.
5 Facts About Volcanoes That Will Blow Your Mind
The danger of an eruption is far-reaching
The danger area around a volcano covers about a 20-mile radius.
An eruption can trigger other natural disasters
An erupting volcano can trigger tsunamis, flash floods, earthquakes, mudflows, and rockfalls.
Volcanoes created the Earth’s surface
More than 80% of the Earth's surface is volcanic in origin.
Active volcanoes still exist
There are more than 500 active volcanoes in the world.
The sound of an eruption can be dangerous
A loud eruption can cause hearing loss and the breaking of glass.
Why Vesuvius Day is Important
To honor the victims
This is a day to remember the thousands of lives lost to the eruptions of Mount Vesuvius. We don’t only honor the dead but get to reflect on our own mortality.
To learn more about this phenomenon
Volcano eruptions are few and far apart, but they happen nonetheless. This is a good day to learn more about this natural phenomenon and what to do when danger strikes.
To create awareness
Vesuvius Day also creates awareness about one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history. We can take the day to learn more about such volcano eruptions and the devastation that followed.
Vesuvius Day dates