Is Mount Vesuvius Still Active?

Mount Vesuvius is a name that most historians are well aware of. In 79 AD, the notorious Italian volcano erupted in a fiery explosion, killing thousands of Roman citizens of Pompeii and Herculaneum and encasing their final moments in lava. The eruption was a true catastrophe in every sense of the word, and it was one that rocked the ancient world. 

Today, most people visit Pompeii and Herculaneum, the towns Mount Vesuvius destroyed, to see remnants of ancient Roman day-to-day life. Of course, knowing what happened there all these years ago would make some people wonder if the volcano that destroyed Pompeii could end up doing the same today. Believe it or not, the answer might surprise you. 

Can Vesuvius Erupt Again?

If you were wondering whether Vesuvius is still active, the answer is yes. Vesuvius is still an active volcano and still erupts somewhat frequently. Unlike many other volcanoes, Mount Vesuvius is known for being unpredictable in its intensity and appearance.

The volcano has a cycle that lasts around 20 years between eruptions, which is why it’s kind of crazy that people live there. Though most eruptions are little more than a bit of steam and lava, the most recent eruption was considered one of the more extreme ones. 

How Many Times Has Mount Vesuvius Erupted?

Since the most famous eruption in 79 AD, Mount Vesuvius has erupted over 50 times. The most recent time was in August of 2020. The explosion was the most intense that the volcano experienced since 1944. 

With that said, most eruptions are not very intense. Vesuvius only boasted eight significant, earth-shattering eruptions in the past 17,000 years!

How Often Does Mount Vesuvius Erupt?

Unlike other volcanoes, Mount Vesuvius has a fairly reliable schedule. The eruptions happen every 20 years or so, though the reliability can change slightly from cycle to cycle. So sometimes, it’s 20 years. Other times it’s 24 or 18. 

The good news here is that the volcano does send out “warning signs” in most cases. So we should be able to predict (and prevent) another Pompeii. 

Mount Vesuvius Facts And History

With the fame that this Italian volcano has earned throughout history, it’s amazing to know that we are still learning about how it works. These fascinating facts will show why Vesuvius is one of the most interesting volcanoes in the world.

  • A recent study shows that Mount Vesuvius didn’t vaporize victims. Contrary to popular belief, the people of Pompeii weren’t vaporized. They were suffocated and baked to death from the sheer heat of the volcano’s smoke. 
  • Volcanologists call it one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world. You’d think people would have figured out not to settle nearby after Pompeii, but they didn’t. The reason Vesuvius is so dangerous deals with its proximity to Naples, one of the largest cities in Italy. 
  • Mount Vesuvius sparked an evacuation during World War II. Though there were no Allied casualties, over a dozen Italians died. The largest number of casualties came in the form of 88 Allied aircraft, all of which were later found empty and parked in the middle of molten lava.
  • Another study revealed that many victims of the 79 AD eruption had their brains turned into glass. This is because the sheer heat from the volcano was so powerful, it crystallized the fat and liquid in peoples’ skulls.
  • The famous eruption that destroyed Pompeii didn’t kill everyone. Historical records showed that there were a handful of survivors who were able to live to tell the tale.
View of Mount Vesuvius from ruins of Pompeii

Is Mount Vesuvius Tied To A Curse?

We all have heard about all the death and destruction tied to this volcano, but most of us haven’t heard about rumors of a curse. There are rumors among Italian locals of a curse—but don’t worry, it won’t affect visitors. 

According to the rumors, people who steal artifacts from the ruins of Pompeii may find themselves haunted by the former owners of the objects. The curse also seemed to have an impression on one Canadian tourist who grabbed ceramics and tiles from the famed ruined city. 

After pilfering some mementos for herself, the woman suffered a series of highly unlikely strokes of bad luck. Along with severe financial hardship and two breast cancer diagnoses, the woman claimed the items had a palpable “bad energy” tied to them. 

The curse was so powerful that she eventually sent the items back along with a confession letter. Rumor has it that she isn’t the only one to do this, either. 

Conclusion

Mount Vesuvius is one of Italy’s most famous volcanoes, not to mention one of the most culturally impactful. If you want to give it a visit, by all means, do. Just don’t grab any stones or tiles, lest the curse hit!