A new study discovered that the Mount Vesuvius eruption was even more lethal than we believed. When it took place, an incredible heat blast caused excruciating pains to the victims caught. Their skull exploded as their blood boiled and their flesh turned into ash.
As researchers were analyzing a series of skeletons recovered from an ash deposit, they observed a strange feature. The skeletons exhibited red and black mineral residues on their bones, and traces of the residue were also found inside cranium and the ash bed itself.
The abstract notes that such residues can only appear if the liquids in the body vaporized at incredible heat due to exposure to extreme heat. The skeletons used in the study were recovered from Herculaneum, a city that was 4 miles away from the volcano. Herculaneum was also covered by volcanic ash avalanches that killed the even the last survivors.
The temperature of the heat wave may have ranged between 750 and 930 degrees Fahrenheit, a lethal temperature as water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mount Vesuvius erupted on August 24, 79 A.D. with the power of 100,000 atomic bombs. It shot a massive amount of ash, gas, and stones up to 21 miles into the sky and at least 1,000 were buried by ash and lava in Pompeii, Herculaneum and other nearby villas.
Molten rock has kept the skeletons conserved until the first ones were found during a geological survey in the 1850’s. Since then, researchers have been fascinated by them and new skeletons are discovered from time to time, offering new and valuable information.
This year they discovered a man that seemed to have been crushed by a huge stone as he tried to flee the eruption. It seems that the real cause of death was asphyxia, as the ash in the air blocked the respiratory airways.
The Vesuvius hasn’t erupted since 1944, but it is still categorized as an active volcano and it may awaken in the future.