STS047-094-023 Vesuvius Volcano and Naples, Italy September 1992
This low-oblique, west-looking photograph shows Vesuvius (center of the photograph), the only active volcano on the European mainland, whose last eruption occurred in 1944. Vesuvius, a complex stratovolcano located east of Naples, has erupted more than 50 times since its most famous eruption in 79 A. D. that buried the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Monte Somma, the ridge that half circles the central cone of Vesuvius, is the remains of an ancient volcano that erupted and collapsed, the lower slopes of which are extremely fertile and are dotted with many small villages and vineyards. Naples, west of Vesuvius, is a major seaport with shipyards (piers are visible in the photograph) and a major commercial, industrial, cultural, and tourism center. Manufactures include iron and steel, oil refinery products, chemicals, textiles, food products, electrical machinery, aircraft and railroad locomotive parts, and handicrafts. Metropolitan Naples has a population of more than 1.4 million. West of Naples lies the Phlegraean Fields, a cluster of 20 craters with many hot springs and fumaroles. Monte Nuovo, a cinder cone with a small crater lake, was formed by a violent eruption in 1538. Although the volcano has remained dormant since that eruption, many small earthquakes during the last 100 years cause concern about future volcanic activity.
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