Steven Dutch, Professor Emeritus, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay


If you can somehow fight your way through the creeps and hustlers who infest the train station in Naples, a couple of euros and half an hour on the Circumvesuviana will take you to the pleasant town of Ercolano.
An interesting custom hereabouts is posting funeral announcements in public.
Directly downhill from the station in Ercolano, about a ten minute walk, is the entrance to the excavations of Herculaneum.

General Views of Herculaneum


The Waterfront

In 79 AD, Herculaneum was on the coast. Our ideas of the deadliness of the eruption changed radically in the 1980's when hundreds of skeletons of people killed by pyroclastic flows turned up here.
This tunnel leads to an exit. At left is efflorescence on the tunnel walls. Below are views of the contact between a basal lapilli unit and an upper, more compact ash flow unit.

Lunch counters like these are found both here and in Pompeii. Hot water in the vessels kept the food hot, although it was probably best not to ask how long the food had been sitting there. Before anyone knew about germs, as long as it didn't taste or smell too bad, it was good to eat.

Charred Timbers


Views looking north toward Herculaneum and Vesuvius. Monte Somma is on the left.
Left and below: Vesuvius from near Pompeii. Most of the former rim of Monte Somma is buried by later deposits and only the shoulder at the base of the cone hints at the former volcano.
Above: Vesuvius from the hydrofoil

Left and below: views from Naples harbor. In all views, Vesuvius is the high cone on the right, Monte Somma the jagged peak on the left.

Below: Vesuvius at dusk, looking appropriately sinister.

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Created 15 January 2007, Last Update 02 June 2020