At noon on August 24, 79 A.D., the peak of Mount Vesuvius erupted.
This photo of Mount Vesuvius was taken in January of 1912. Mount Vesuvius is the only active volcano on the European mainland and is expected to erupt again in the near future.
The eruption of 79 A.D. is the most well-known ancient eruption in the world and it buried two cities. The Roman town Pompeii was buried under 14-17 feet of ash and pumice (highly pressurized rock formed when lava and water mix) and Herculaneum laid underneath 60 feet of mud and volcanic material.
In 1748, a farmer found pieces of Pompeii under his vineyard and since then, historians and geologists have been excavating the land to find lost treasures and artifacts. When volcanic ash and lava flowed the streets of these two Roman cities, it seems as if life was frozen where it stood. The way of every day life is understood from the artifacts and skeletons left behind.
Do you know how a volcano erupts?
Volcanoes are land forms that open downward to a pool of molten rock (magma) and they erupt when the pressure builds up.
National Geographic has a really neat video that explains Volcanoes 101.
Would you like to make a color-changing volcano? Roots and Wings Co. has instructions for a really neat one.
Make one and tell us how it exploded!