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Authors: Gurioli, L.* 
Zanella, E.* 
Pareschi, M. T.* 
Lanza, R.* 
Title: Influences of urban fabric on pyroclastic density currents at Pompeii (Italy), part I: Flow direction and deposition
Issue Date: 2006
Keywords: Pompei
magnetic fabric
pyroclastic density currents
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.08. Volcanology::04.08.99. General or miscellaneous 
Abstract: To assess ways in which the products of explosive eruptions interact with human settlements we performed volcanological and rock-magnetic analyses on the deposits of the AD 79 eruption at the Pompeii excavations (Italy). During this eruption the Roman town of Pompeii was covered by 2.5 m of fallout pumice and then partially destroyed by pyroclastic density currents (PDCs). Anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility (AMS) measurements performed on the fine matrix of deposits allowed the quantification of the variations in flow direction and emplacement mechanisms of the parental PDCs that entered the town. These results, integrated with volcanological field investigations revealed that the presence of buildings, still prodruting throught the fallout deposits, strongly affected the distribution and accumulation of the erupted products. All PDCs that entered the town, even the most dilute ones, were density stratified currents in which interaction with the urban fabric occurred in the lower part of the current. The degree of interaction varied mainly as a function of obstacle height and density stratification within the current. For examples, the lower part of the EU4pf current left deposits up to 3 meters thick and was able to interact with 2-to-4-meter-high obstacles. However, a decrease in thickness and grain size of the deposits across the town indicates that, even though the upper portion of the current was able to decouple from the lower portion, enabling it to flow over the town, it was not able to fully restore the sediment supply to the lower portion in order to maintain the deposition observed upon entry into the town.
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