Date: 9 months ago   Category: Science

The skull blew up. As the victims of Vesuvius perished


Chemists and criminalists specified a cause of death of some residents of the Roman Herculaneum who died during eruption of Vesuvius. The new research of remains of the dead at eruption of Vesuvius in the 79th year showed that at many of them the head literally blew up. Boiling up of blood and soft fabrics became a cause of death of the victims of the most known and destructive volcanic eruption in the history. Корреспондент.net tells details. As Vesuvius killed Eruption of Vesuvius became one of the most destructive accidents in the history as a result of which the elements in two days destroyed the ancient Roman cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabiya located most closer to the bottom of a volcano. By estimates, thermal energy emitted at eruption by 500 times surpassed that which was released at explosion of an atomic bomb over Hiroshima. Herculaneum which was in seven kilometers from Vesuvius was buried under pyroclastic streams during the second wave of eruption which happened in several hours. Therefore most of residents of Herculaneum managed to escape. A pyroclastic stream - the mix of high-temperature volcanic gases, ashes and stones moving with a speed up to 700 kilometers per hour and reaching temperature of 800 °C. During the first phase of eruption, in the afternoon on August 24, the cloud of volcanic ash moved the southeast and filled up Pompeii and Stabiya. However several hundreds of citizens preferred to remain and took refuge from eruption in boat hangars on the seashore. Presumably, they died under a layer of the heated ashes or from thermal damages, or from suffocation. During excavation of 1997-1999 archeologists found remains about 80 people in ruins of boat hangars. By estimates of researchers, they died not from suffocation, and from lightning shock. A part of remains was charred, skulls of people were broken and filled with ashes, and on some remains traces of a brown raid remained. The Italian chemists and criminalists under the leadership of the biologist Pierpaolo Petrone from the Neapolitan university of Frederick II conducted a new research of remains of residents of Herculaneum. They paid attention to a mineral deposit of red and black color which remained on bones and in skulls of the dead. The chemical analysis showed that it contains a lot of iron and its oxides. According to scientists, this find demonstrates that blood and soft tissues of a body, including a brain, boiled and instantly evaporated under the influence of high temperatures. Bones of a skull did not maintain pressure from within and burst that led to instant death. "Such effect is represented the result of simultaneous direct influence of high temperatures and the intra cranial vapor pressure caused by boiling up of a brain, and explosion of a skull as a result", - it is said in article published in PLoS ONE. Besides, researchers noted that during eruption many inhabitants tried to escape from a lava which temperature was from two hundred to five hundred degrees Celsius, in a coastal strip, however as a result all of them got in

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