Lead: In the late summer of AD 79 the stratovolcano Vesuvius which towers over the Bay of Naples erupted. There was a tragic loss of life.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Vesuvius is a relatively young volcano, a little less than 200,000 years old. It towers a little more than 4000 feet over the waters of the Bay of Naples and the plain of Campania in south central Italy. Approximately half way up the sides of the volcano is a high semicircular ridge called Mt. Somma, but in the first century Vesuvius had a single conical summit. Apparently, the mountain has long periods of  quiescence in which there is little volcanic activity, followed by varying periods of eruption. During the quiet times vineyards and orchards grow in the rich soil that covers the lower approaches. Higher up groves of oak and chestnut trees proceed almost to the very summit. During the long six century period before the giant eruption of 1631 there apparently were forests down in the 1000 foot deep crater and three lakes from which herds of sheep and cattle grazed unaware of the rumbling giant below.

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