Here are some facts about Mount Vesuvius:
- Mount Vesuvius is one of the most well known volcanoes in the world. It is located in Italy, on the Gulf of Naples, about 9 miles from the city of Naples.
- Mount Vesuvius is about 4,190 feet high and measures about 30 miles around its base. Geologists estimate it to be about 17,000 years old.
- Vesuvius is the only volcano on the European mainland that has erupted during the last century and is still active. It has erupted over 50 times during the last 2,000 years.
- The last eruption occurred in 1944, during the height of the Second World War, destroying US bomber planes stationed a few kilometres away. A long period of calm usually means an eruption may happen soon.
- Over 3 million people live in the immediate area of Mt Vesuvius. More people live dangerously close to it than to any other volcano anywhere in the world.
- The most famous eruption happened in 79 AD. Mount Vesuvius erupted continuously for almost a day, killing thousands of people and completely burying the nearby city of Pompeii. The town of Herculaneum was also buried.
- Archaeologists have found many well preserved items in and around Pompeii over the years. They include heating stoves, eye patches, cooking utensils and goblets, as well as the remains of dogs and cats.
- When the volcano erupted, most people fled to where they felt safe, although they were actually running towards the volcano. The only surviving account of the eruptions are two letters written by Pliny the Younger, a local writer.
- The volcano was made a National Park in 1995. Visitors can climb the mountain and walk to within 200 yards of the summit, where sulfuric smoke can be seen coming out of the crater.
- Mount Vesuvius is actually a volcano within a volcano and is known as a stratovolcano because of its conical shape. The two
distinct cones are separated by a 3 mile long valley.