Volcanic Danger Zones

2,000 people died the first time, 700k are in danger today

Mount Vesuvius

Volcanic eruptions cause a huge amount of damage to surrounding cities, including the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum when they were destroyed by Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79. 2,000 people out of the 20,000 person population were killed. The city of Pompeii alone was buried in between 14 and 17 layers of ash and rock, suffocating anyone who tried to wait it out in cellars or basements. History.com says that these two cities provide a "record of the everyday life of an ancient civilization, startlingly preserved in sudden death" (History.com Staff) This means that even the people in the areas directly around the volcano had no warning of the eruption.

Modern Day/Future

Today, volcanic eruptions cause more damage than they did in 79 A.D. As the volcanic ash from a recent eruption from mount Eyjafjallajokull diminishes, Iceland is finally able to open back up their airports and continue air traffic as normal (Volcanic Ash...). This is one way that volcanic eruptions can affect us today; by stopping airports and other air traffic to function normally. This would not have been an issue before air travel was a big industry, but now that people fly all the time, it could have a devastating effect on the economy. Also, there is another volcano in Iceland that "will cause 3 billion tons of water to gush out in this unpopulated region. Some believe this water will change weather patterns when it reaches the Atlantic ocean" (Fire and Ice). This is a way that an Icelandic volcanic eruption could affect the land around it. This has nothing to do with humans unless it was near a populated place. If there were people living in a nearby lowland, they would either be drowned or displaced. Another eruption is expected in the near future, would be devastating for the 700,000 people who live in the “death zones” around Vesuvius. This is an example of how modern or future eruptions could be more devastating than in the past, there are more people living in the dangerous areas around vesuvius, so an eruption would put 35 times as many people in danger.

Predictions and Technology

The prediction methods of the day are largely affected by technology. "The study used gas flow measurements from within volcanoes to identify different types of oscillations that the volcano undergoes prior to eruption, which are key in predicting when the eruption will happen" (Childress). This quote shows one of the ways that scientists can predict volcanic eruptions. The technology needed for these types of observations, however, would be far past that of ancient cities such as Pompeii and Herculaneum when they were destroyed by mount Vesuvius. The accuracy of the predictions is unreliable sometimes, though, because "science by its very nature is uncertain” (Childress). Current warning systems are often inaccurate because science is inaccurate. This means that unless technologies are developed very significantly in the future, there will be little that can be done to predict these disasters.


"Vesuvius Erupts." History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 05 Apr. 2016.

"Predicting Volcanic Eruptions." Yale Daily News Predicting Volcanic Eruptions Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Apr. 2016.

"Predicting Volcanic Eruptions." Yale Daily News Predicting Volcanic Eruptions Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Apr. 2016.

CONAN, NEAL. "Volcanic Ash Halts European Air Travel." Gale: Science in Context. Gale, 19 Apr. 2010. Web.

"Volcanic Eruption Kills 80,000." History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2016.