Vesuvius Eruption's Extreme Heat Turned Human Brain Into Glass: Scientists

Rest of the World News

When Mount Vesuvius erupted in the year of 1979, the volcano spewed out an avalanche of gas and hot lava which was enough to boil blood, vaporize flesh

Written By Sounak Mitra | Mumbai | Updated On:
Vesuvius

When Mount Vesuvius erupted in the year of 1979, the volcano spewed out an avalanche of gas and hot lava which was enough to boil blood, vaporize flesh and convert bits of brain tissue into the glass, according to a new study. The scientists have uncovered a very rare and different kind of thing when they examined the remains of a man died during the dangerous Vesuvius eruption. The victim's brain was covered in a surge of hot ash,  had been burned by a process called vitrification. The glassy material  "encrusted" the surface of the man's skull, according to the reports.

READ: Alaska: Shishaldin Volcano Spews Thick Ash Cloud In Aleutian Village

Scientists examine the skeletal remains

The heat was so extreme that it vaporized body fluids and exploded the skulls of several inhabitants. The volcano spewed molten rock, pumice, and hot ash over the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. A large number of victims died of asphyxiation, a thick cloud of toxic gas and ash. The rare discovery was made by Dr Pier Paolo Petrone, a professor of human osteobiology and forensic anthropology at the Federico II University Hospital in Naples, Italy. Petrone and his team examined the skeletal remains of over 300 people in Herculaneum who had fled during the Vesuvius eruption. Herculaneum is situated about 11 miles (20 kilometers) from Pompeii, has been ravaged by the volcanic eruption. 

READ: Philippines Looks For Safer Homes For Volcano Residents

Petrone and colleagues examined about 100 skeletons excavated along the shoreline at Herculaneum and they were all killed by the hot, dense pyroclastic flows. The scientists found red and black residue on some of the bones that could not have come from coins or other metal artifacts, since there weren't any near this particular site. The study revealed proteins known to be found in different areas of the human brain responsible for higher brain functions like decision-making. They also identified fatty acids found in human hair grease, along with triglycerides generally found in brain tissue samples.

READ: Philippines City Making Bricks From Volcanic Ash To Help Others Rebuild

READ: Japan Court Halts Nuclear Reactor Restart Over Earthquake, Volcano Risk

First Published:
By 2030, 40% Indians will not have access to drinking water
SAVE WATER NOW
PEOPLE HAVE PLEDGED SO FAR
DO NOT MISS