Ernesto De Carolis and Giovanni PatricelliMount Vesuvius, in what is now southern Italy, erupted in A.D. 79, spewing volcanic rock, clouds of fine ash, and deadly gases over surrounding towns and farms, burying every trace of their existence. In nearby Pompeii, nearly two thousand people died. Rain falling with the ash formed a kind of cement that encased everything and everyone in an airtight seal.
This book provides a fascinating account of the seismic and volcanic activity leading up to the eruption of Vesuvius, as well as a detailed description of the event itself and its aftermath. The authors rely on a wide range of scientific, artistic, and literary sources, including the gripping eyewitness account of Pliny the Younger, whose eminent uncle died from exposure to toxic gases while trying to help victims evacuate. The authors close with stories and legends of this ancient catastrophe, which continues to fascinate scholars and nonexperts to this day.
Ernesto De Carolis is the director of the restoration laboratories at the Archaeological Superintendency of Pompeii. Giovanni Patricelli has held positions at the Vesuvian Observatory and in the Department of Geophysics and Volcanology of Naples, where he was involved in mapping the seismological topography of Vesuvius.