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Think Pompeii Got Hit Hard? Worse Eruptions Lurk
Yahoo - Reuters ^ | 3-6-2006

Posted on 03/07/2006 11:10:23 AM PST by blam

Think Pompeii got hit hard? Worse eruptions lurk

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent
Mon Mar 6, 5:03 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- The preserved footprints and abandoned homes of villagers who fled a giant eruption of Mount Vesuvius 3,800 years ago show the volcano could destroy modern-day Naples with little warning, Italian and U.S. researchers reported on Monday.

The eruption buried entire villages as far as 15 miles (25 kilometres) from the volcano, cooking people as they tried to escape and dumping several feet (metres) of ash and mud.

New excavations show far more extensive damage than that found at the more famous site of Pompeii, buried in A.D. 79.

It could happen again, affecting metropolitan Naples, where 3 million people live, and officials are not planning properly for it, the researchers write in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"Evidence shows that a sudden, en masse evacuation of thousands of people occurred at the beginning of the eruption," Giuseppe Mastrolorenzo and colleagues at the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Volcanologia-Osservatorio Vesuviano wrote.

"Everything was there," added Michael Sheridan, a geologist and hazard assessment expert at the University at Buffalo in New York who worked on the study.

"They even left animals in cages," Sheridan said in a telephone interview.

"Scenes of everyday life, frozen by the volcanic deposits, testify that people suddenly left the village: the molds of four huts, with pottery and other objects left inside; skeletons of a dog and nine pregnant goat victims found in a cage; and footprints of adults, children and cows filled by the first fallout pumice," the researchers wrote.

"I think what they probably had was a couple of days (to get out). There are lots of skeletons but thousands and thousands of footprints," Sheridan said.

The footprints would have been left as survivors ran through the mud deposited in the explosion. Ash filled them, preserving them for archeologists

to find.

VIGNETTES OF LIFE

The site at Pompeii is famous for the vignettes of everyday life preserved in the ash -- writhing victims, everyday households and even a brothel with lurid murals.

Several sites dug up in farmland and pumice quarries in the surrounding area show similar preservation of the much-older Bronze Age civilization, Sheridan said. "This is really a slice into the life of the people who lived there," he said.

Vesuvius would have shaken as the strength of the eruption built. A column of ash would have spewed high up into the atmosphere and then rained down for many miles around.

Clouds of steam and ash would have formed on the flanks of the volcano and rolled down, leaving steaming deposits as far away as 9 miles.

These would have cooled toward the edges, allowing escape, but closer in, nothing would have survived, Sheridan said. "The people in there would have cooked," he said.

Looking at Vesuvius now, it sits directly across the Bay of Naples from the city and its extensive suburbs.

"If you look at the structure of the volcano, it now forms an amphitheater that is facing west (toward Naples). This has a very strong effect on blast and flows," Sheridan said.

"It is almost as if they would be focused toward Naples."

Sheridan said the disaster that followed Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on the U.S. Gulf Coast shows officials do not plan adequately for natural disasters.

"It is obvious they were not paying attention to what happened or have plans for something a little larger than what they expected," he said.

"In Naples it is the same sort of story."


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: catastrophism; eruptions; godsgravesglyphs; got; hard; hit; italy; lurk; nola; pompeii; think; vesuvius; volcanoes; worse
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1 posted on 03/07/2006 11:10:27 AM PST by blam
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To: blam
We're all going to die!!!!!
2 posted on 03/07/2006 11:12:16 AM PST by Rummyfan
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To: blam

Did Bush know?


3 posted on 03/07/2006 11:13:25 AM PST by Dallas59 ((“You love life, while we love death"( Al-Qaeda & Democratic Party))
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To: Rummyfan

"We're all going to die!!!!!"

You speak truth.


4 posted on 03/07/2006 11:13:39 AM PST by MineralMan (godless atheist)
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To: blam

Is Michael Moore about to blow?


5 posted on 03/07/2006 11:14:00 AM PST by WV Mountain Mama (I don't need to visualize whirled peas. I'm a mom, I've SEEN them.)
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To: blam

Pompeii is really cool. I would have loved to party with those people.


6 posted on 03/07/2006 11:14:24 AM PST by Minn
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To: blam

There was plenty of warning for Pompeii. Most took the rumbling and plumes as part of the scenic attraction of the area and shrugged it off. 'Oh, that's just Vesuvius, it does that all the time, no big deal.'


7 posted on 03/07/2006 11:16:43 AM PST by RightWhale (pas de lieu, Rhone que nous)
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To: blam

Golly, the cable news networks haven't had a volcano to obsess about since Mt. St. Helens. As I recall, the death toll in that one was 1 old man who refused to leave. Now if Mexico City was to blow, that would be pretty cool.


8 posted on 03/07/2006 11:20:21 AM PST by ozzymandus
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To: blam
Naples was a favorite liberty port of mine when I was a 19 year old sailor with hormones working overtime. On the other side of the coin I hated Naples when on Shore Patrol duty. I would love to go back some day just as a mature tourist.
9 posted on 03/07/2006 11:27:25 AM PST by NavyCanDo
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To: ozzymandus
"As I recall, the death toll in that one was 1 old man who refused to leave."

I think it was 51 or 52 people who died. BTW, the old man did die...his name was Harry Truman.

10 posted on 03/07/2006 11:38:39 AM PST by blam
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To: blam
"skeletons of a dog and nine pregnant goat victims"

Goat VICTIMS! What the fudge. The goats were for eating, and they just got cook earlier than planned.

11 posted on 03/07/2006 11:51:23 AM PST by Dacus943
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To: blam

Yeah, I saw the movie. He was played by Art Carney.


12 posted on 03/07/2006 11:59:52 AM PST by ozzymandus
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To: ozzymandus
It was 56 people... and that was because it blew out sideways. This confounded the U.S. Geological Survey and Governor Dixie Lee Ray.
13 posted on 03/07/2006 12:06:49 PM PST by Tolkien (Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.)
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To: ozzymandus

57 dead from St Helens eruption.


14 posted on 03/07/2006 12:08:42 PM PST by Cold Heart
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To: NavyCanDo
Pompeii was great. There were intact buildings, amphitheaters, streets, brothels, temples and casts of people that died during the eruption. The streets still have the ruts that chariots and wagons wore down.
15 posted on 03/07/2006 12:08:56 PM PST by GeorgefromGeorgia
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To: GeorgefromGeorgia

Get an umbrella.


16 posted on 03/07/2006 12:12:15 PM PST by GAD
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To: blam

Sheridan said the disaster that followed Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on the U.S. Gulf Coast shows officials do not plan adequately for natural disasters. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Maybe I am slow but I fail to see how it is possible to"plan adequately" for natural disasters. Of course on the other hand any fool can make grandiose plans, the execution is a little more difficult.


17 posted on 03/07/2006 1:09:15 PM PST by RipSawyer (Acceptance of irrational thinking is expanding exponentiallly.)
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To: RipSawyer
Maybe I am slow but I fail to see how it is possible to"plan adequately" for natural disasters.

Well, the definition of "adequately" is always open to interpretation in that context. But one can also figure out inadequate planning - such as Nagin waiting for the Saturday before Katrina hit to work out the legalities of ordering a mandatory evacuation. Just for starters.

18 posted on 03/07/2006 1:21:01 PM PST by dirtboy (I'm fat, I sleep most of the winter and I saw my shadow yesterday. Does that make me a groundhog?)
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To: MineralMan
"We're all going to die!!!!!"

You speak truth.

Not me. I'm planning on living forever. So far it's working.

19 posted on 03/07/2006 4:51:11 PM PST by Bubba_Leroy (What did Rather know and when did he know it?)
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To: blam; FairOpinion; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; 24Karet; 3AngelaD; ...
Already added, but it never got pinged.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list. Thanks.
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on or off the
"Gods, Graves, Glyphs" PING list or GGG weekly digest
-- Archaeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc.
Gods, Graves, Glyphs (alpha order)

20 posted on 08/27/2006 7:33:17 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (updated my FR profile on Thursday, August 10, 2006. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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