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, rocking 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.

Mount Vesuvius View From Afar

Of course, knowing what happened there all these years ago would make some wonder if the volcano that destroyed Pompeii could do the same today. Believe it or not, the answer might surprise you. 

Here are some key details about Mount Vesuvius:

Mount Vesuvius FactsDetails
LocationNear Naples, Italy
TypeActive volcano
Last major eruption79 AD, burying the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum
Height1,281 meters (4,203 feet)
Notable eruptions8 significant eruptions in the last 17,000 years, with numerous smaller ones in between
Current statusConsidered an active volcano, with the potential for future eruptions
MonitoringConstantly monitored by the Vesuvius Observatory for signs of increased activity
Populated areaAbout 1 million people live within range of the volcano

Can Vesuvius Erupt Again?

Aerial view of Mount Vesuvius

The answer is yes if you were wondering whether Vesuvius is still active. Vesuvius is still an active volcano that 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. 

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, 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

Drone view of Mount Vesuvius (SS)

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 is 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.

Is Mount Vesuvius Tied To A Curse?

Mount Vesuvius in Italy

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. 

Mount Vesuvius Crater

After pilfering some mementos for herself, the woman suffered a series of 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. 

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!

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