Photo Italy's Mt. Vesuvius from space
This was the view out the International Space Station’s cupola on Jan. 1, 2013 around 09:37 UTC, looking nearly straight down the gullet of Italy’s Mt. Vesuvius. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? Just a little over 1900 years ago it blew its top in the most famous volcanic eruption in recorded history. About 16,000 people lost their lives that day due to pyroclastic flow—searing hot ash blasting outward from the stratovolcano’s maw.
The volcano has erupted many times since then, including in the 20thcentury. Got that? It’s still active. Now take another look at that photo, and let the volcano’s surroundings settle in to your mind. It sits just a few kilometers from Naples, and more than half a million people live in the volcano’s red zone—where destruction from a big eruption would be swift and brutal.
I wonder why people want to live near an active volcano.
But I'm sure they wonder why I want to live near an earthquake fault line.