Ancient Mount Vesuvius Eruption Made Skulls Explode, Vaporized Body Fluids

Christopher Davidson
October 11, 2018

As the archaeologists note in their article, previous studies have suggested that those who were killed by Mount Vesuvius probably died instantly, but the hypothesis that at least some of them had their blood boiled and their skulls internally exploded still sounds like a pretty bad way to go out.

The Mount Vesuvius eruption in 79 AD killed thousands of people, and many thought that a lot of them died due to asphyxiation. However, a new study revealed that for some victims, their skulls exploded and bodily fluids vaporized. According to Science Alert, Vesuvius is still an active volcano and there are now close to three million people living nearby.

A recent study that was published in the PLOS One journal revealed that some of the victims of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD died instantaneously due to the extreme heat of the lava that was flowing from the volcano.

Conducting new investigations on the skeletal remains of those killed in Herculaneum, a town 4 miles from Mount Vesuvius that was obliterated by the volcanic eruption, the scientists gained more insights into how the townsfolk died. Their blood would have boiled and their skulls would have exploded. This meant that their skeletons were preserved in their final death pose.

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The team found evidence of "rapid vaporization of body fluids" and "boiling blood" as well as fractures, similar to those found in cremated bones, that indicated victims experienced "recurrent skull explosion".

The researchers write, 'An extraordinary find concerns skulls filled with ash, which indicates that after evaporation of the organic liquids the brain was replaced by ash.

Further analysis led them to conclude the bodily fluids of the victims had been vaporized. In addition to Pompeii, which was buried, Herculaneum "was suddenly hit and overwhelmed by volcanic ash avalanches that killed all its remaining residents", the study notes.The experts believed the temperatures from the volcanic explosion were anywhere between 750 and 930 degrees Fahrenheit. "The presence of such an ash cast in all victims, even those showing minor heat effects, provides evidence that the surge was sufficiently hot and fluid to penetrate the intracranial cavity soon after soft tissues and organic fluids disappeared".

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