"Darkness fell, . . . as if the lamp had been put out in a closed room," wrote Pliny the Younger, describing the devastation caused by the eruption of Italy's Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. This eruption buried nearby cities including Pompeii, preserving the Ancient Roman cultures until unearthed in 1748. Many people lost their lives in the blast.

Devastating Effects

Although the entire town of Pompeii has yet to be completely excavated as of 2014, archaeologists estimate roughly 2,000 citizens of the city died from the ash flow, gases and debris from the eruption in 79 A.D. This number does not count lives lost from surrounding areas. At one point, the city boasted a population of 20,000, so many more lives could have been lost.