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Vesuvius' Shadow: A major volcanic blast could threaten Naples

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1:34pm, March 8, 2006

When Italy's Mount Vesuvius begins to rumble again, nearby Naples may be in danger, a new study shows. In 4,000-year-old ash beds buried under the city, researchers have uncovered the first geologic evidence that the volcano's power could extend so far—and they warn that the city's hazard planners should take heed.

The 25,000-year-old volcano has had eight major explosive eruptions in recorded history, including the blast in A.D. 79 that buried Pompeii in ash, says volcanologist Michael Sheridan of the State University of New York at Buffalo. Violent explosions of ash and gases have been interspersed with dozens of less dramatic lava flows.

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