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Word Count: 410
Vesuvius is famous for the massive eruption in 79 AD that buried the towns of Herculaneum and Pompeii Earthquakes frequently hit this area The 79 AD eruption of Vesuvius was the first volcanic eruption ever to be described in detail From 18 miles 30 km of the volcano you could see the eruption It is estimated that at times during the eruption the column of ash was 20 miles 32 km tall About 1 cubic mile 4 cubic kilometers of ash was erupted in about 19 hoursAround 100 pm on the 24 of August a tall cloud of steam and ash rose above Mt Vesuvius and debris began to fall In the area around Pompeii the thickness of falling debris increased by 6 to 8 inches per hour The rocks which comprised the debris were up to 3 inches in diameter and fell with a speed of up to 100 mileshour They may have caused injuries and isolated deaths and should have after a few hours caused the collapse of roofs The city was soon covered in complete darkness The residents probably did not even know what kind of event was striking them and waited in their homes hoping that the shower of rock would sooner or later come to an end After 12 hours of continuous explosive activity a change in the eruptive dynamics occurred The mouth of the volcano widened such that local gas pressure could no longer push up the tall ash column The mixture of gas and ash no longer rose up into the sky but immediately fell back onto the slopes of the volcano forming glowing avalanches of hot flowing material about 800 degrees which rushed rapidly down slope destroying everything in their paths This change in the eruption proved fatal to the thousands of people around the volcano The Roman towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum were destroyed in a matter of minutes The city was abandoned and its location
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