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            Volcano: A hill or mountain formed around and above a vent by accumulations of erupted materials, such as ash, pumice, cinders or lava-flow. The term refers both to the vent itself and to the often cone-shaped accumulation above it. (Scarth, 1994.) This definition can do Mt. Vesuvius no justice. Instead, I would describe it as one of the most hellish and population decimating volcanoes. Vesuvius lives or lived! In its prime, Vesuvius covered and demolished two of Italy's biggest cultural and artistic cities of its time. In this paper, I will be discussing volcanoes in general. In addition, Mt. Vesuvius, in particular, will be thoroughly looked at, as well as its 79 AD eruption.
             Volcanoes have long been depicted as nature's killer. In movies, Volcanoes are seen as mountains of fire and spitting lava; their only purpose seems to be to kill and destroy everything in their path. Never is the background of volcanoes discussed. How are volcanoes formed? Are there different types of volcanoes? What happens during an eruption? The basic questions to aid understanding of volcanoes might change the public's opinion. .
             First, I will begin with the creation of volcanoes. Volcanoes are formed in different ways. In a short version: the earth's plates shift and move. After the plates collide into each other, one plate is pushed down into the mantel below the crust and melts. Hot magma from the mantle breaks through a weak spot in the crust. As the .
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             magma shoots out of the crust, the cooling magma called lava becomes hard. After significant time, the hard lava forms a volcanic mountain. Volcanoes can form in many different sizes and shapes. They can look like a cone, have steep looking flanks, or look as if they were long cracks in the earth's crust. (Plummer et al., 2000). If the mountain is very tall, then there is a greater chance that it was formed from past eruptions. When the lava cools, it makes the mountain bigger and higher.

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