Volcaniclastic resedimentation on the northern slope of Vesuvius as a direct response to eruptive activity
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A new archaeological excavation on the northern slope of Vesuvius has provided invaluable information on the eruptive activity and post-eruptive resedimentation events between the late Roman Empire and 1631. A huge Roman villa, thought to belong to the Emperor Augustus, survived the effects of the 79 a.d. Plinian eruption, but was mainly engulfed in volcaniclastic materials eroded and redeposited immediately after a subsequent eruption or during repose periods. Primary pyroclastic deposits of the 472 a.d. eruption are only few centimeters thick but are overlain by reworked volcaniclastic deposits up to 5 m thick. The resedimented volcaniclastic succession shows distinct sedimentary facies that are interpreted as debris flow deposits, hyperconcentrated flow deposits, and channel-fill deposits. This paper has determined that the aggradation above the roman level is about 9 m in 1,200 years, leading an impressive average rate of 0.75 cm/year.
KeywordsLahar Vesuvius Roman ruins Damage evaluation
An earlier version of this manuscript has benefited from a constructive review by Nichelle Baxter. This paper was also improved after constructive comments from Scott Bryan and an anonymous reviewer. The final writing of this manuscript was completed during a visit to the Brigham Young University by one of the authors, Claudio Scarpati.
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