An Overview of the History of Mount Vesuvius

Mount Vesuvius is a volcano that has allegedly had three major eruptions in the past 2000 years. They took place in 79AD, 472, and 1631. The eruptions of 79 and 472 are called “Plinian eruptions” due to the severity of the event. The eruption of 1631 is called a “small-scale Plinian eruption” due to its lessened but yet significant severity.

Vegetation can grow back as quickly as 20 years after an eruption. [5]

The following list contains a number of reported years that Mount Vesuvius erupted: 79, 172, 203, 222-235, 379-395, 472, 500, 512, 536, 685, 787, 968, 991, 993, 999, 1006/7, 1036/7, 1068-1078, 1139, 1150, 1306, 1500, 1570, 1631, 1660, 1682, 1694, 1698, 1707, 1737, 1760, 1767, 1779, 1794, 1822, 1834, 1839, 1850, 1855, 1861, 1868, 1872, 1906, 1926, 1929, and 1944.

Alfano (1924) analyzed 71 historical reports about Vesuvius and selected 11 as being validated. The following screenshot is from page 56 from the 1924 publication. The bolded numbers are the dates which Alfano believed to be validated by documentation.

The following chart is found in [2] and shows the activity of Vesuvius from 79AD-1631. For some reason unknown to me, it does not mention the eruption of 1500.

The table from [5] shows the 1500 date listed but not the 1570 date. Activity from 1306 is also listed in this table.

Another table from [5] shows the eruptions categorized into two categories.

The graph from [7] reports some dates of which I’ve never seen reported anywhere else. I include it here because it was the one of the first results when I Googled “historical activity of mount Vesuvius” and checked the images.

The graph from [8] shows the periods of activity and inactivity for multiple places. Vesuvius is the first one on the far left.

I have found the graph in [9] to be helpful in categorizing the eruptions.

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The wiki reports, “The volcano became quiescent at the end of the 13th century and in the following years it again became covered with gardens and vineyards as of old. Even the inside of the crater was moderately filled with shrubbery.” Britannica reports, “Scientific study of the volcano did not begin until late in the 18th century. An observatory was opened in 1845…”.

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References;

1 – Mount Vesuvius: 2000 years of volcanological observations

2 – Vesuvius Before the 1631 Eruption

3 – Mount Vesuvius Wikipedia

4 – Vesuvius Britannica

5 – Chronology of Vesuvius’ activity from A.D. 79 to 1631 based on archeomagnetism of lavas and historical sources

6 – Herculaneum from the AD 79 Eruption to the Medieval Period

7 – Overview of eruptive history of the Somma-Vesuvius

8 – Somma Vesuvius: The Volcano and the Observatory

9 – The Somma-Vesuvius medieval eruptive activity

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