Mount Vesuvius (// viss-OO-vee-əs; Italian: Vesuvio [veˈzuːvjo, -ˈsuː-]; Neapolitan: 'O Vesuvio [o vəˈsuːvjə], also 'A muntagna or 'A montagna; Latin: Vesuvius [wɛˈsʊwɪ.ʊs], also Vesevius, Vesvius or Vesbius) is a somma-stratovolcano located on the Gulf of Naples in Campania, Italy, about 9 km (5.6 mi) east of Naples and a short distance from the shore. It is one of several volcanoes which form the Campanian volcanic arc. Vesuvius consists of a large cone partially encircled by the steep rim of a summit caldera, caused by the collapse of an earlier and originally much higher structure.
|Elevation||1,281 m (4,203 ft)|
|Prominence||1,232 m (4,042 ft)|
|Native name||Vesuvio (Italian)|
'O Vesuvio (Neapolitan)
|Age of rock||25,000 years before present to 1944; age of volcano = c. 17,000 years to present|
|Volcanic arc/belt||Campanian volcanic arc|
|Last eruption||17–23 March 1944|
The eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79 destroyed the Roman cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum, Oplontis and Stabiae, as well as several other settlements. The eruption ejected a cloud of stones, ashes and volcanic gases to a height of 33 km (21 mi), erupting molten rock and pulverized pumice at the rate of 6×105 cubic metres (7.8×105 cu yd) per second. More than 1,000 people are thought to have died in the eruption, though the exact toll is unknown. The only surviving eyewitness account of the event consists of two letters by Pliny the Younger to the historian Tacitus.
Vesuvius has erupted many times since and is the only volcano on the European mainland to have erupted within the last hundred years. Today, it is regarded as one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world because of the population of 3,000,000 people living near enough to be affected by an eruption, with 600,000 in the danger zone, making it the most densely populated volcanic region in the world. It has a tendency towards violently explosive eruptions, which are now known as Plinian eruptions.