Skywatch-Media Reader's Edition
Jan 10, 2007
Experts warn that Naples is within range if Vesuvius erupts
Vesuvius is the most heavily monitored volcano in the world.
Within 20km (12 miles) of its crater live almost three million people - and every one of them, say the geologists, is at risk.
Their evidence comes from research, now completed, which shows that 4,000 years ago Vesuvius erupted with such ferocity that huge areas of land around the volcano were uninhabitable for decades.
Geologists say the evidence that has been uncovered since 2001 should have encouraged Italian authorities to change the evacuation plan they are rehearsing.
Avalanche of Ash on Pompeii and Naples
When the volcano exploded, it sent a cloud of superheated dust and ash high into the stratosphere, which eventually collapsed over a radius of 25km (15 miles).
The avalanches of hot ash raced down the slopes of the volcano at several hundred kilometres an hour, destroying everything in their path.
Within the city of Naples they found deposits of this ash up to 3m (10ft) deep.
Click on Image at left to learn more about the mechanism behind Volcanic eruptions.