Experts unravel the mystery of the 2,000-year-old catastrophe in which the entire city of Pompeii disappeared in 15 minutes

Ruins of Pompeii (Courtesy of the British Museum)

On August 24, 79 A.D., Pompeii in southern Italy, a city of great luxury in ancient Rome, was instantly destroyed in a furious volcanic eruption. A recent study found that the people of Pompeii were buried under the ashes within 15 minutes of the eruption due to the heat and ash brought by the volcanic debris flow that killed the entire city.

According to the British media, “The Guardian” reported that the joint study conducted by the University of Bari, the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV) and the British Geological Survey in Edinburgh found that the Pompeians had no chance of escape after the eruption, although dozens of people may have been killed by the eruption of rock, but the vast majority were due to the volcanic debris flow, the heat and ash brought within 15 minutes Killed and buried under the ashes ever since.

INGV senior researcher Isaiya (Roberto Isaia) revealed that the volcanic debris flow temperature of more than 100 degrees Celsius, composed of carbon dioxide, chloride, hot ash and volcanic glass particles, the study is mainly to build a model to understand the impact of volcanic debris flow on Pompeii, about 10 kilometers from Vesuvius.

It’s also easy to see how quickly the disaster came about, with the remains of victims scattered in their homes, beds, streets or squares. Isaiah said the Pompeians could not imagine what would happen to them because they lived in a place where there had only been earthquakes in the past and never a volcanic eruption, and in those 15 minutes the Pompeians encountered an endless hell.

The ruins of Pompeii are the second most visited site in Italy, located in the south of the country. The city was founded in the sixth century B.C. and incorporated into Rome in 89 B.C., along with a nearby town, Herculaneum.

As a seaside city, Pompeii was bathed in the warm sunshine of the Apennines, and its pleasant climate soon made it a place of residence for the powerful and wealthy of Rome. In Pompeii, with a population of about 20,000, there was an arena with a capacity of 12,000 people and a theater with a capacity of 5,000 people. The city was full of brothels, and the people were spending money in an extravagant manner.

However, when history came to 79 A.D., the people in Pompeii who were enjoying themselves could not have imagined that a disaster was approaching them. At noon on August 24, A.D. 79, with a deafening explosion, Mount Vesuvius erupted!

Gushing out of the lava straight into the sky, black smoke with the hot volcanic ash to the people, the sky was dark, the earth shook.

After that, the eruption triggered a rainstorm, rain swept the mountain rocks, sand, volcanic ash, forming a huge mudslide, rolling down the mountain, rushing to the foothills plain …… people run to the sea, but only a dozen hours later, the luxurious Pompeii and Herculaneum city disappeared from the sight of mankind.

Bodies buried by volcanic ash in Pompeii

After more than 1,600 years underground, Pompeii was discovered next to Herculaneum in 1738, and Pompeii in 1748, but it was not until the 19th century that archaeologists began to examine and excavate the two ancient cities. The work was extremely extensive and lasted for more than 200 years, and has not yet been fully completed.

When people gradually unseal the day when Pompeii was overturned, what really moves the heart is not the material splendor of ancient Rome, but the state and expressions of the people who fled in horror, making Time freeze in the moment when it was destroyed more than 1900 years ago.

In the ruins of Pompeii, you can see the victims of men, women and children, some half-kneeling, some holding the wall with both hands, some lying down, tragic images; there are also piles of people fleeing in the direction of the coast, their horrible escape scene, full of despair of the end.

Many people believe that the fall of Pompeii, including the fall of the entire Roman Empire, was directly related to the fact that the whole country was immersed in sex and lust.

According to records, Pompeii, with a population of only 20,000, had 25 brothels of different grades, and the walls were filled with all kinds of unpleasant pictures of sex; the walls of wool dyeing houses, stores and inns were covered with the marks of Pompeians’ indulgence, and many pictures of nudity and group sex were displayed naked, including homosexual frescoes everywhere.

In 1819, when King Francis I of Naples led his wife and daughter to visit the frescoes in Pompeii, he was so ashamed by the erotic frescoes that he ordered them to be closed to the public, and they were not reopened until 2000.