Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Is Italy well prepared for Mount Vesuvius eruption?

Researchers warn the next eruption of Vesuvius could be much deadlier than Italian authorities are prepared to handle.

Italian plans call for the evacuation of 600,000 people from the city, but new assessments indicate more than three million people may be at risk, as past eruptions have caused destruction well beyond Naples.

Vesuvius is notorious for its eruption in 79 AD, which wiped the town of Pompeii off the map.
Modern plans to evacuate Naples are based on a similar-sized eruption that occurred in 1631.
The study, published by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, shows that during the Bronze Age, the most recent eruption, ash-ridden lava flowed up to 16 miles to the northwest of the volcano, over and beyond what is modern Naples.

Anything within the first eight miles would have been swept away.

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