The Mount Vesuvius eruption on August 24-25, 79 CE, was a tragic, deadly disaster for the residents of Pompeii, a Roman city tucked inland from the Bay of Naples. The volcano destroyed the town and preserved it under layers of ash and rock. Unearthed centuries later, the site serves as a treasure trove of objects and information. Archaeologists and historians can explore the way of life in Pompeii before the destruction.
Pompeii's residents suffered for hours as Mount Vesuvius - like most volcanoes - erupted in several phases. The volcano first trembled and coughed up a cloud that rained pumice stones and hot ash on the city for hours. Eventually, a deadly flow of blisteringly hot volcanic detritus and gas surged down, enveloping the city.