Vesuvius volcano

Stratovolcano 1281 m
Italien, 40.82°N / 14.43°E
Current status: normal or dormant (1 out of 5)
Last update: 26 Mar 2019 (occasional swarms of tiny earthquakes)
Vesuvius volcano near Naples, Italy, seen from the air. The rim of the remnant of the older Somma volcano which collapsed in the 79 AD Plinian eruption is clearly visible to the left of the new Cono Grande cone with its crater.
Vesuvius volcano near Naples, Italy, seen from the air. The rim of the remnant of the older Somma volcano which collapsed in the 79 AD Plinian eruption is clearly visible to the left of the new Cono Grande cone with its crater.

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Typical eruption style: Mainly explosive. I detail, Vesuvius has 4 typical types of eruptions:
1. Plinian (such as the 79 AD Pompeii eruption): extremely large explosive eruptions producing several to several tens of cubic km of magma in a very short time.
2. Sub-Plinian explosive eruptions (such as the 1631 eruption). They are similar in style, but smaller than true Plinian events.
3. Strombolian and Vulcanian eruptions (several examples during the 1631-1944 period, e.g. 1906 and 1944). Such eruptions produce local heavy tephra falls, small pyroclastic flows, as well as large fire fountains and lava flows.
4. The smallest, but most frequent type of activity observed at Vesuvius is persistent Strombolian to Hawaiian-style activity that prevailed during much of the period between 1631 and 1944. This activity is usually limited to the central crater, and sometimes to flank vents. Lava flows and lava fountains have been frequently observed during such periods of activity.
Vesuvius volcano eruptions: 1796 - 1822, 1824 - 1834, 1835 - 1839, 1841 - 16 February 1850, 1854 - 1855, 1855 - 1861, 1864 - 1868, 1870 - 1872, 1875 - 1906, 1913 - 4 April 1944

Latest nearby earthquakes

TimeMag. / DepthDistance/Location
Sun, 20 Jun 2021 (GMT) (1 earthquake)
20 Jun 2021 01:00:59 GMT
1.5

0.1 km
0.4 km (0.2 mi)
6.3 km northeast of Torre del Greco, Naples, Campania, Italy
Sat, 19 Jun 2021 (GMT) (1 earthquake)
19 Jun 2021 18:27:41 GMT
1.7

2.3 km
24 km (15 mi)
4.7 km west of Fuorigrotta, Naples, Campania, Italy
Thu, 17 Jun 2021 (GMT) (2 earthquakes)
17 Jun 2021 19:38:30 GMT
0.5

0.8 km
0.3 km (0.2 mi)
Italy: Vesuvio Area
17 Jun 2021 01:46:21 GMT
1.1

1.1 km
46 km (29 mi)
Italy: Ischia
Wed, 16 Jun 2021 (GMT) (1 earthquake)
16 Jun 2021 03:18:49 GMT
0.5

1.2 km
24 km (15 mi)
Italy: Campi Flegrei Area

Background

Vesuvius ("Vesuvio" in Italian) is probably not only the most famous, but also one, if not the most dangerous volcano on Earth. The first eyewitness account of a volcanic eruption that has been preserved has come to us from Vesuvius: In 79 AD, after a century-long slumber, the volcano woke up with terrifying power in an eruption that buried several Roman towns like Pompeii and Herculaneum under several meters of ash. Today, parts of these cities have been excavated and are among the most remarkable archaeological sites of the world, allowing us to have an excellent view on Roman life and culture, where time and life had been frozen in a moment.

Geologically, Mt. Vesuvius, or more correctly the Somma-Vesuvius complex, is about 400,000 years old, as dating of lava sampled drilled from over 1,300 m depth have shown. Present-day Vesuvius is a medium-sized typical stratovolcano volcano reaching a height of 1,281 m a.s.l. It comprises the older volcano, the Somma, whose summit collapsed (likely during the 79 AD eruption), creating a caldera, and the younger volcano, Vesuvius, which since then has re-grown inside this caldera and formed a new cone. Although in a dormant phase at present, Vesuvius is an extremely active volcano and particular for its unusually varied style of activity: it ranges from Hawaiian-style emission of very liquid lava, extreme lava fountains, lava lakes and lava flows, over Strombolian and Vulcanian eruptions to violently explosive, Plinian eruptions that produce large pyroclastic flows.

When one thinks about Vesuvius volcano today, one aspect is eminent: due to the dense population surrounding it, and ever climbing higher and higher up on its slopes, it is certainly among Earth's most dangerous volcanoes. It is estimated that ore than 500,000 people live in the zone immediately threatened by a future eruption. When this happens is not known; it is possible that Vesuvius has entered into one of its typically century-long lasting phases of dormancy, but volcanoes can be unpredictable. The situation in the Gulf of Naples is further complicated by the presence of another highly active, and potentially as dangerous volcano: the Campi Flegrei, located immediately under a large part of the modern city of Naples proper.

Vesuvius Photos

Vesuvius volcano near Naples, Italy, seen from the air. The rim of the remnant of the older Somma volcano which collapsed in the 79 AD Plinian eruption is clearly visible to the left of the new Cono Grande cone with its crater. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Vesuvius volcano near Naples, Italy, seen from the air. The rim of the remnant of the older Somma volcano which collapsed in the 79 AD Plinian eruption is clearly visible...
On the crater rim of Vesuvius volcano, with steaming vents in the background. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
On the crater rim of Vesuvius volcano, with steaming vents in the background. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Vesuvius volcano aerial (June 2017) (Photo: Martin Rietze)
Vesuvius volcano aerial (June 2017) (Photo: Martin Rietze)
The excavations of the Roman town of Ercolaneo buried by pyroclastic flows from Vesuvius volcano in the 79 AD eruption. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
The excavations of the Roman town of Ercolaneo buried by pyroclastic flows from Vesuvius volcano in the 79 AD eruption. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
 



Vesuvius volcano tours:
Volcanoes of Italy - the Grand Tour (15-days study & walking tour from Vesuvius to Etna)

See also: Sentinel hub | Landsat 8
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