(GMT)19 JAN 2017 RONRN:
"Though the ancient Oscan city of Pompeii, founded before the 6th century BC, had its ups and downs, by the AD 1st century it was a Roman colony of 20,000 and a thriving, bustling seaport.
It occupied a prime stretch of coastline southeast of Neapolis (Naples), just on the other side of that huge mountain called Vesuvius.
After 14 years of hard work, Pompeii was just getting back on its architectural feet following the massive earthquake of AD 63. The columns of the forum had been re-erected, and villa owners had piled lime next to the last walls that needed replastering. They thought the worst was over.
At noon, August 24, AD 79, the peak of Mt. Vesuvius exploded, sending a mottled black-and-white mushroom cloud 12 miles into the air at twice the speed of sound, raining ash and light pumice down on the region. For 12 hours, the sheer force of the eruption kept that cloud aloft, and the lucky one among the Pompeiians fled.
The more than 2,000 people whose bodies have been uncovered at Pompeii must have thought the enormous cloud hanging over Vesuvius was just smoke, for they stayed to sit it out.
Then, the cloud collapsed, and the horror engulfed the city before anyone could run more than a few feet. Pompeii was buried by a pyroclastic flow, a superfast rush of hot ash and pumice with an undercurrent of rock and burning gasses.......