What was the great explosion of Vesuvius?

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  • Vesuvius is a volcano mountain on the west coast of Italy, 12 km from Naples, and is the only active volcano in mainland Europe.
  • The explosion of Vesuvius on 24-25 August 79 AD was one of the most devastating volcanic eruptions in European history. Vesuvius ejected an enormous cloud of stones, ashes and volcanic gases into the atmosphere.
  • Several Roman settlements were destroyed and buried under the huge ash storms, the most famous being Pompeii. Because the city was buried so quickly with volcanic ash, it is a well-preserved snapshot of life in a Roman city.
  • Vesuvius has experienced eight major eruptions over the past 17,000 years. The eruption of 79 AD is one of the most famous ancient explosions in the world and has killed several people, with the exact number being unknown. Although the last eruption of the volcano was in 1944 during the Second World War (of course much lighter than the one of 79 AD), it still poses a great risk to the surrounding cities, especially for the lively area of Naples.

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