Some considerations on the state of Vesuvius in the Middle Ages and the precursors of the 1631 eruption

A. Nazzaro


The volcanologic literature concerning Vesuvius and its activity, since the great eruption of 1631, is particularly abundant and helpful in order to investigate topics of remarkable interest on the eruptive history of the Neapolitan volcano. One of these topics relates to the precursory phenomena of the eruption of 1631. This problem it is of great importance for a better knowledge of the eruptive trends of the volcano since the 1631 eruption is the reference for any Civil Defence plan regarding the Vesuvius volcano. In addition, knowledge of the medieval activity of Vesuvius is important because it furnishes useful data for research into some unfamiliar aspects of the volcano's history, e.g., the existence of a 1500 eruption and consequently the duration of the inactivity period before 1631. It is generally assumed that the precursors of this eruption occurred less than one month before its beginning. In particular, the earthquakes would have come about 10 days before the eruption. Moreover a soil uplift is reported about 20 days beforehand. On the basis of a careful analysis of some important sources, books and manuscripts, we will see that the outline of the phenomena was much more complex.


Vesuvius 1631 eruption;precursor of eruptions;medieval activity

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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X