Between 1884 B.C. and A.D. 472, eruptive activity at Somma-Vesuvius was dominated by the three plinian eruptions of Avellino (3550 yr B.P.), Pompei (A.D. 79) and A.D. 472 and, as a result, little attention has been given to the intervening interplinian activity. The interplinian events are here reconstructed using new data from twenty stratigraphic sections around the lower flanks of the volcano. Three main eruptions have been identified fro the protohistoric period (3550 yr B.P.-A.D. 79). The first two occurred shortly after the Avellino event and both show a progression from magmatic to phreatomagmatic behaviour. The third eruption (2700 B.P.) consisted of five phreatomagmetic episodes separated by the emplacement of mud flows. Only one event, the explosive erupton of A.D. 203, has been identified for the ancient historic period (A.D. 79-472). In contrast, the A.D. 472 eruption was followed during the medievel period (A.D. 472-1631) by comparatively vigorous interplinian activity, including four strombolian-phreatomagmatic events and extensive lava effusion, which formed a summit cone (destroyed in A.D. 1631) similar to that on Vesuvius today. Such regular alternations of plinian and interplinian events are evident only since 3550 yr B.P. and provide important constraints for forecasting future behaviour at Somma-Vesuvius.
Additional publication details
The interplinian activity at Somma-Vesuvius in the last 3500 years