Before choosing a volcano it is very important to understand what a volcano is. It is basically an expel which transports liquefied rock known as magma from down the Earth onto the surface. The magma which comes out of a volcano is termed as lava and this is the one which helps to build up the cone which surrounds the vent. A volcano is termed as active is it erupts lava, gas and such other particles which causes seismic action. Similarly if a volcano does not cause any kind of eruptions in the near future but is expected to erupt sometime in future is called as a dormant one. However if the dormancy of a volcano continues for ten thousand years then the same is termed as extinct (Geoscience Australia. 2017). This paper would discuss about one of the most well known volcano of Italy i.e. Mount Vesuvius.
Mount Vesuvius is one of the oldest and the sole active volcano in the continent of Europe. It is situated near Naples in Italy and had exploded almost two thousand years ago. The first eruption that took place in 79 A.D. was disastrous without any warning signals, leading to destruction of lives of residents of the city Pompeii. However the destruction was not limited to Pompeii alone and it disrupted Herculaneum too due to the washing away of the erupted ashes by the heavy rains flooding the entire city thus taking away lives of sixteen thousand people.
Mount Vesuvius is found in the Campanian volcanic arc which also comprises of other volcanoes such as Stromboli, Vulcano, Campi Flegrei and Mount Etna. They belong to a common subduction zone which is formed by the Eurasian and African tectonic plates uniting (Basicplanet. 2013). The African plate was seen pushing the Eurasian one from beneath which created a pressure, pushing it upwards and formed an inundated deep-sea of volcano in the Bay of Naples. Towards the latter part, Vesuvius was born from beneath the ocean as an island and as time went by it has joined hands with the mainland because of building up of deposits from erupted materials (Ball, 2012).
The eruptional behaviour of Vesuvius originates deeper below the surface of the Earth. Earth as is known, is formed from a cloud of dust and gas and the excessive heat on the surface cooled down but the heat beneath did not. Thus when these tectonic plates come and bump into each other, magma from the layer seeps up in between the cracks and comes out from the beneath. This melted rock comes out from the magma compartment of Vesuvius and in the atmosphere since it is less thick than the neighbouring volcanoes. Mount Vesuvius is a complex volcano comprising of a mix of various sheets of volcanic emission flows, volcanic ash and residues. It consists of a volcanic cone by the name of Gran Cono that was formed within a pinnacle caldera named Mount Somma (Oregon State University. 2013).
The said volcano has erupted at least two hundred times and the last one was in the year 1944 as after that till date the same has been in a sluggish stage with no major eruptions. The eruption happened on March 13, 1944 when the vent of the volcano moderately distorted thus structuring a depression of about 20m deep. However the activity again occurred on the next day and the same continued for our days till 18th when a outburst of lava happened at a very fast pace from the conelet, overcoming the wall of the opening from the north side and came to Mount Somma caldera wall beneath the Punta del Nasone. The very next day the lava spread further and reached Fosso della Vetrana and soon these lava eruptions covered the villages of Massa and S. Sebastiano. Apart from these flows, a fountain also started to erupt on the 21st March 1944 for half an hour thus leading to amassing of scoriae on the border of Gran Cono. The final fountain which exploded ended with the creation of a persistent cinders cloud which spread at around 5 kms above the hollow lip. This lead to construction of small pyroclastic flows as depicted below on the edges of the volcano.
However the eruption stalled on the 29th March 1944, the day when the opening looked like a plane piano tending from north-east to south-west with a profundity of 300m with regards the frame and a border of 1.6 Km. The western part of the hollow has a height of 1.169m asl and the north-east 1.300 m asl.
The explosion of the Mount Vesuvius in 1944 happened soon post arrival in Naples of the connected armed forces in the Second World War. The eruption thus caused destruction of the airforce airplanes which were parked at the airport of Terzigno east of the mountains. One of the division of 88 B-25 was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Some causalities were also reported because of the eruption of a water tank which was filled by the flow of the lava due to the eruption of the volcano. However economically, the main sufferers were the residents of the villages of Massa and S.Sebastiano (Vilardo, & Ventura 2008).
The eruption of Vesuvius again is a surety since it is still active but the time of eruption is uncertain although geologists had expected it to erupt in the year 2013, thus the same is overdue now for an eruption. Thus it is under continuous monitoring so that the first stance of eruption can be known precautionary steps be taken. If it erupts today then the consequences would be fatal endangering lives of more than three million and would clean sweep the entire city of Naples (Pasha-Robinson 2016). Presently there are around 25 towns which are red=siding within the endangered zone of the Vesuvius. However the technology has advanced so much that the government of Italy expects to get time of around 14 to 20 days before the next eruption (Kington, 2013). The government has offered the endangered population options to move out from the zone, but all have not yet opted for the same.
Ball,J. (2012). Mount Vesuvius- Italy. Retrieved from https://geology.com/volcanoes/vesuvius/
Basicplanet. (2013). Mount Vesuvius Volcano. Retrieved from https://www.basicplanet.com/mount-vesuvius-volcano/
Geoscience Australia. (2017). What is a Volcano?. Retrieved from https://www.ga.gov.au/scientific-topics/hazards/volcano/basics/what
Kington, T. (2013). Mount Vesuvius ‘could erupt at any time’. Retrieved from https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/italy/10291443/Mount-Vesuvius-could-erupt-at-any-time.html
Pasha-Robinson,L. (2016). Mount Vesuvius eruption risk: Emergency plans to evacuate 700,000 finalised. Retrieved from https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/mount-vesuvius-emergency-evacuation-eruption-plans-finalised-a7360686.html
Oregon State University. (2013). Volcano World. Retrieved from https://volcano.oregonstate.edu/vesuvius
Vilardo,G., & Ventura,G. (2008). Geomorphological map of the 1944 Vesuvius lava flow (Italy). Journal of Maps. 4(1). 225-234