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Traces of the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. C. found in Greece

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Almost 2000 years after the eruption of Vesuvius which in 79 AD destroyed much of the territory of Pompeii and the surrounding cities, an international team of researchers analyzed the event again to offer a comprehensive state of the art plan on the knowledge of most famous eruption in history, starting from its dating, which a study of a few years ago postponed for a few months, from August to October. The integration between the field study, the laboratory analyzes and the rereading of historical sources made it possible to follow all the phases of the eruption in time, from the magma chamber to the deposition of the ash in areas very far from Vesuvius, finding traces of it as far as Greece . The study “The AD 79 eruption of Vesuvius: a lesson from the past and the need of multidisciplinary approaches for developments in volcanology”, recently published in the journal “Earth Science Reviews”, was conducted by the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (Ingv ) in collaboration with the Interdepartmental Center for the Study of the Effects of Climate Change (Cirsec) and the Department of Earth Sciences of the University of Pisa, the Institute of Environmental Geology and Geoengineering of the National Research Council (Igag-Cnr), the Laboratoire Magmas et Volcans of Clermont-Ferrand (Lmv) in France and the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences (EPS) of the Heriot-Watt University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom. The research was carried out as part of the “Pianeta Dinamico” research project funded by Eng. The team of multidisciplinary researchers collected and critically analyzed the vast scientific production available on the eruption, integrating it with new research. “Our work examines with a broad and multidisciplinary approach different aspects of the eruption of 79 AD, integrating historical, stratigraphic, sedimentological, petrological, geophysical, paleoclimatic and modeling data of the magmatic and eruptive processes of one of the most famous and devastating events that have affected the Neapolitan volcanic area – explains Mauro A. Di Vito, Ingv volcanologist and coordinator of the study – The article starts from the redefinition of the date of the eruption, which would have occurred in the autumn of 79 AD and not on 24 August as hypothesized in the past, and continues with the volcanological analysis of sites near the volcano and then progressively moved up to thousands of kilometers away, where traces of the eruption were found in the form of fine ashes “.” Since XIII century, the date of August 24 has been the subject of debate among historians, archaeologists and geologists because it is inconsistent with numerous evidences, such as the findings in Pompeii of typically autumn fruit or the heavy tunics worn by the inhabitants that were badly reconciled with the date of 24-25 August – explains Biagio Giaccio, researcher of Igag-Cnr and co-author of the article. The definitive proof of the inaccuracy of the date, however, emerged only a few years ago: “An inscription in charcoal on the wall of a building in Pompeii that translated quotes ‘The sixteenth day before the calends of November, he indulged in food in an immoderate way’ , indicating that the eruption certainly occurred after October 17 “, adds Giaccio. The most accredited date is, therefore, that of October 24-25. The research was then integrated by the quantitative evaluation of the impact of the individual phases of the eruption on the areas and archaeological sites near the volcano. “The spirit of our work was to understand how an event from the past can represent a window to the future, opening new perspectives for the study of similar events that may occur tomorrow – continues Domenico Doronzo, Ingv volcanologist and co-author of the research – This study will therefore improve the applicability of forecasting models, from precursor phenomena to the impact of var eruptive and depositional processes, but it can also contribute to reducing the vulnerability of the areas and numerous infrastructures exposed to volcanic risk, not only in the vicinity of the volcano, but – as this event teaches us – even at a distance of hundreds of kilometers from it ” . “In recent years it has become increasingly important to understand the impact of eruptions on the climate also in order to study the origin and impact of some short climatic variations. However, we still do not know much – and with adequate resolution – of the climatic conditions at the time of the eruption of 79 AD “, comments Gianni Zanchetta of the University of Pisa and co-author of the research.” In this work we have tried to put together the knowledge on the regional climatic conditions at the time of the eruption to attempt a first synthesis, also to direct future research on this aspect that still has many dark sides “, adds Monica Bini of the University of Pisa. The results of this study received the appreciation of authentic icons of world volcanology such as Raymond Cas, professor emeritus at the School of Earth Atmosphere and Environment of Monash University (Australia), “The eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD is one of the most iconic in the field of physical volcanology – says the well-known Australian researcher – The observations on this eruption, as well as the countless studies on the deposits and the interpretation of the eruptive processes i, are the basis of many of the concepts and understanding of the mechanisms of explosive eruptions in modern volcanology. A review of what is known about the eruption and its deposits is therefore very important for volcanologists and justifies a comprehensive and detailed document, such as this article. The authors must certainly be congratulated for the extremely complete details extracted from the enormous historical documentation and contemporary scientific literature on this iconic eruption. “

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