Why Did Mount Vesuvius erupt?



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    Mt. Vesuvius has erupted more than once. An eruption in AD 79 destroyed the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum is its most famous eruption, but it has erupted many times since.

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         The famous AD 79 eruption of Mount Vesuvius was a plinian eruption, a type of magmatic eruption. That means the eruption was caused by expanding gases inside the volcano, which propelled pyroclastic (meaning volcanic) material into a high eruption column. The eruption then caused a pyroclastic flow, which asphyxiated anyone left in nearby towns.

         Other famous plinian volcanic eruptions are the 1885 eruption of Krakatoa and the 1984 eruption of Mt. Saint Helens. The current eruption of Eyjafjallajokull in Iceland is also a plinian eruption.

    A reconstruction of the AD 79 eruption of Vesuvius by the Discovery Channel

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