|Gulf of Naples Recreation and sightseeing around the volcano Vesuvius |
The region around the Gulf of Naples is from a geological point of view not only a part of older chalk mountains such as the south eastern Lattari, but also mostly dating from the young Quaternary plains around Vesuvius and the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea. The most impressive geological sites are around Naples, Mt. Vesuvius itself, the Campi Flegrei to the west of the city and the bay islands of Procida and Ischia.
Volcanism in the Vesuvius area
Naples is the largest city in southern Italy. Even its suburbs like Torre del Greco with approximately 90,600 inhabitants and Castellammare Stabia with about 65,000, have taken on a city character. The common thing between towns in the Gulf of Naples is that they are at the foot of one of the most famous volcanoes on Earth. With a maximum elevation of 1,281 metres, Mount Vesuvius is indeed a dwarf compared to other giant volcanoes, but no other volcano has been so well researched. Its infamous eruption in 79 AD is very well known and the ring wall of Monte Somma has been preserved as a remnant of the ancient volcanic mountain. Buildings in the city of Pompeii were buried under pumice and ash, along with its inhabitants which numbered about 10,000 at that time and a glowing avalanche (pyroclastic flow) poured through the village of Herculaneum which had 5,000 inhabitants.
Today's Crater Mountain and its environs were shaped as a result of numerous other eruptions, especially in the years 1631, 1767, 1872, 1906, 1925 and 1944. Traces of these eruptions can be found here in the form of lava flows, ash and lapilli tuffs.
Other volcanic regions are Campi Flegrei (also known as the Phlegraean Fields) and the Procida and Ischia islands with their adjacent sea areas. Twenty seven former volcanoes have been counted on the mainland alone, many of which were still active entering into historical times. For example, in 1198, Solfatara volcano at the port of Pozzuoli erupted and in 1302, Ischia Epomeo erupted for the last time. Earthquakes such as those in 1982 and 1983 in the area around Pozzuoli, uplift and sinking incidences and different post-volcanic occurrences also show that the region has not yet come to rest.
Among post-volcanic occurrences are hot gaseous vapour sources, known as fumaroles and relatively cool exhalations of carbon dioxide below 100 °C (or mofette). The famous mofette in the "Dog's Cave" near Naples and the fumaroles of the Solfatara crater at Pozzuoli, leak as hydrogen sulphide "solfataras" at temperatures from 100 to 300 °C. The possibilities for the use of volcanic steam to generate energy is being explored by prospection drilling in various regions on the map.
However, there is also a completely different landscape type including the Sorrento Peninsula and its offshore island of Capri, and the Monti Lattaria, which as a continuation of the Neapolitan Apennines lime chain reach a height of 1,443 metres.
Settlement and land use
The Mediterranean climate and vast areas of highly fertile soils of volcanic ash and tuffs in the region mean a demanding variety of crops including fruit and vegetables can be grown, along with natural wine crops. Consequently, the area around the Gulf of Naples is one of the most densely populated regions on Earth. In the province of Naples, which roughly corresponds to the area shown on the map, there are approximately 3 million people per 1,171 km², representing a population density of 2,500 inhabitants per square kilometre.
In historical times there were numerous settlements, villas and country estates in the region. Even today there are millions of people living in the immediate environs of the city of Naples in a variety of urban settlements. The beautiful landscape, traces of history and varied possibilities for rest and recreation have made the Gulf of Naples a major tourism area.
W. Grau; Ü: C. Fleming
Keywords: accumulation Adriatic Sea antique archaeological ash colonisation crater deposition Italy lapilli lava settlement the Mediterranean thermal baths tourism tuff villas volcanism volcano
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