BERNHARD EDMAIER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY BERNHARD EDMAIER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius. View of the ruins of the forum in the ancient Roman town of Pompeii, with its destroyer Mount Vesuvius in the back- ground. Pompeii was a thriving town until Mount Vesuvius erupted unexpectedly in AD 79. Pompeii was rapidly buried under a rain of ash, which preserved the town for archaeologists in the 19th and 20th centuries. The nearby town of Herculaneum was also buried by mud and ash, although its inhabitants were already dead due to an avalanche of hot toxic gases (a pyroclastic flow) sweeping through the town. Although unfortunate for the thousands of people who died, this preservation is a priceless source of information for historians.
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