Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A Pompeii-nful End

The city of Pompeii was once a flourishing community of open-minded people with advanced technology. The city had rudimentary plumbing and ample sources of entertainment. According to our tour guide Giuseppe, the city was full of brothels and meeting places all contained in what was colloquially referred to as the "red light district" of Pompeii. 
Unfortunately, all the fun came to an untimely end when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, which blasted hot ash 33 kilometers up into the air and demolished the surrounding area. Oddly enough, the massacre of the citizens of Pompeii was not due to injuries from falling rocks but from the resulting pyroclastic surges that caused the air temperature to reach upwards of 300 degrees Celsius. These surges were hot enough and quick enough to instantly kill hundreds of people at once and practically melted their flesh off of their bones. The way the ash fell around the bodies of the victims resulted in hollow air pockets where the flesh had decayed, allowing the archaeologists who rediscovered Pompeii in 1748 to make plaster casts of the victims (pictured above).
That's what I would call a Pompeii-nful end. 

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