“About this time fire issued forth with such a force, noise and shining light that I, who was standing in my garden, was seized with great terror.”
-Francesco del Nero, Pozzouli, 1538
For weeks in the fall of 1538, the ground smoked and swelled in the Campi Fleigrei volcanic fields near Naples. On September 29, the earth cracked open and threw lava an pumice into the air in a cacophony of dramatic eruption. When it was all over, Italy had a new mountain, 439 feet tall.
The eruption was extraordinary for a few reasons, not only had it just created a mountain where none had been before, it was also one of the first eruptions widely witnessed and reported upon.
William Davis and William Snyder reported in a 1902 edition of National Geographic Magazine “Masses of lava ‘as big as an ox’ were shot into the air by the bursting of great bubbles of gas or steam that ascended through the lava in the vent. Finer ashes fell over the country for several miles around. The people in the neighboring villages fled in terror from their homes”
The cinder cone volcano of Monte Nuovo is now park land.
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