1) As depicted in Paul Anderson's POMPEII, on August 24 79 AD, Mount Vesuvius
erupted, spewing a column of ash and pumice high into the atmosphere around the
volcano at the rate of 1.5 million tons per second. The column rose 21 miles
high, and was carried toward the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum by strong
easterly winds. Within hours, the cities were buried in ash and the volcanic
cloud blocked out the sun completely, leaving the area in complete darkness.
For terrified inhabitants it was about to get worse as a series of six
devastating pyroclastic surges wreaked devastation beyond comprehension
obliterating and burying Pompeii and Herculaneum.
2) The deadly pyroclastic surges that struck Pompeii are known as "glowing
avalanches" of hot ash wiping out everything in its path and laying waste to the
city before the population had time to flee.
3) Recent excavations have found hundreds of bodies preserved in the volcanic
material, with fear and desperation twisted on their faces for eternity. Nobody
knows the exact number of people killed by the eruption of Vesuvius, but is
believed to be in the thousands.
4) As studied and measured by geophysicists, and as depicted in Paul
Anderson's POMPEII, the energy emitted by the explosion in 79 AD from Mt.
Vesuvius was 100,000 times the thermal energy released by the Hiroshima bombing.
Most of Pompeii's victims died instantly and were flash-heated to death. Any
survivors would have been burned and asphyxiated to death.
5) As depicted in Paul Anderon's POMPEII, the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79
AD was so powerful that the top of Vesuvius fell by 2000 feet with the effects
compared to a nuclear blast! The eruption so intense that it filled in new
shoreline moving Pompeii more inland.
6) Pyroclastic flows, such as those experienced from Mt. Vesuvius by
Pompeian's in 79 AD, can move as fast as 450 mph with temperatures as high as
1,830 degrees F, exterminating everything in its path and making it impossible
7) Often overlooked by educators, historians and media, the 79 AD eruption of
Mt. Vesuvius created a tsunami in the Bay of Naples.
8) As depicted in Paul Anderson's POMPEII, Mt. Vesuvius is a stratovolcano.
Most rocks that erupt from Vesuvius are andesite, which creates explosive
eruptions making Vesuvius especially dangerous and unpredictable, even today.
9) There is only one type of volcano more threatening to humanity than Mt.
Vesuvius, it is the super-volcano. A super-volcano that erupted 250 million
years ago is now believed to have created the greatest mass extinction the world
has ever seen, wiping out up to 95 percent of all plant and animal species.
Some scientists believe it was a volcano, not an asteroid, that killed off the
dinosaurs 65 million years ago.
10) Could the United States become the next Pompeii? The second most
cataclysmic event for Earth outside a asteroid strike would be a super-volcanic
eruption. Super-volcanoes are hundreds of times more powerful than conventional
volcanoes - with the potential to wipe out civilization as we know it. One of
the world's largest super-volcanoes sits beneath Yellowstone National Park in
the United States. An analysis of the molten rock within the dormant
super-volcano has revealed that a super eruption is possible without any
external trigger or warning, scientists say. If such an eruption should happen
at Yellowstone, two-thirds of the U.S would become uninhabitable as toxic air
sweeps through it, grounding thousands of flights, choking communication
networks and forcing millions to leave their homes. The Yellowstone
super-volcano has been rising at a record rate since 2004, which is of some
concern to scientists.
11) Today, geologists and volcanologists who study Mt. Vesuvius concede that
the volcano is overdue for an explosion. The Vesuvius Observatory monitors
seismic activity, gas emissions and other indicators 24 hours a day to know at
the earliest point when it may erupt. It would be more deadly today as the Bay
of Naples has a current population of 3 million people.
12) As depicted in Paul Anderson's POMPEII, the slaves who fought as
gladiators were from a diverse set of cultures and races. This is an accurate
portrayal of slavery under Roman law, which had nothing to do with one's race,
only with which country or rebellion the Romans had subdued. Slaves came from
Britannia to Africa, and from all over the Empire. Even in hard economic
times, it would not be uncommon for desperate Roman citizens to raise money by
selling their own children into slavery.
13) Prior to production of Pompeii, the filmmakers Paul Anderson, Jeremy Bolt
and team, spent six years researching Pompeii. They imaged every street and
building in the city and the surrounding area so that the film would portray
this magnificent civilization as accurately as possible. The team conducted
extensive flyovers of Mt. Vesuvius, as well as active volcanoes, so that the
imagery in the film would be as visually accurate as possible.
14) The lifestyle of the wealthy Pompeian's was one of opulence and
unparalleled luxury, even by today's standards. Their diet consisted of a
wealth of fish, nuts, grains, olives, fruits, and according to recent
excavations, may have included giraffe and flamingoes as Pompeian restaurants
had a long-distance business of trade in exotic and wild animals.
15) Mt. Vesuvius is a super power of the natural world, today it stands as
threatening as ever. The next eruption would be devastating and the next
eruption is expected to be an enormous cataclysmic explosion and possibly worse
than that of 79 AD. It could change the climate of all of Europe and might
make it impossible to evacuate the 3 million residents currently living in close
proximity to it at the Bay of Naples.
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