Monday, October 27, 2008


Mt. Vesuvius is the best known volcano on earth; it dominates the Bay of Naples with its characteristic cone.

It is a typical example of a volcano in a volcano made by an outer broken cone, Mt. Somma (1133 metres) with a crateric belt most of which is destroyed. In it there is a smaller cone, the Mt. Vesuvius (1281 metres), divided by lowering named Valle del Gigante (Giants Valley), a part of the ancient caldron where in a later period, perhaps during the 79 A.D. eruption, the Gran Cono (Great Cone) or Mt. Vesuvius arose. The Valle del Gigante is still divided in Atrio del Cavallo on the west and the Valle dell'Inferno on the east. The Somma's ancient crater is well preserved as far as its entire northern part is concerned, in fact in historic times it was less exposed to the volcano's devastating violence, because it was well protected by the height of the internal face that has prevented the downflow of lava on its slopes. The slopes, which vary in their steepness, are furrowed by profound radial grooves produced by the erosion of the meteoric waters. The whole section is then characterized by dikes and fringes of dark volcanic rock. The old crater edge is a stream of summits called cognoli

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