A team of archaeologists found the eruption of Mount Vesuvius burned bodies quicker than a crematorium.
When you die, you want to go quickly. But maybe not as quickly as the people killed by Mount Vesuvius.
According to a new research paper released by a team of Italian archaeologists, the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79 generated such extreme heat that it caused victims’ skulls to explode, their blood to boil, and their muscles, flesh and brains to be rapidly replaced with ash.
Conducting new investigations on the skeletal remains of those killed in Herculaneum, a town 4 miles from Mount Vesuvius that was obliterated by the volcanic eruption, the scientists gained more insights into how the townsfolk died.
It was quick, but it wasn’t pretty.
The team found evidence of “rapid vaporization of body fluids” and “boiling blood” as well as fractures, similar to those found in cremated bones, that indicated victims experienced “recurrent skull explosion.”
They also found evidence of the “very rapid replacement of flesh by ash.”
Bodies exposed to extreme heat are often found in a so-called “pugilistic attitude,” where limbs curl in due to contracting muscle to give the body position of a fighting boxer. But according to the researchers, the skeletal remains in Herculaneum indicate that their muscles “disappeared” faster than bodies burning in a crematorium.
It was this combination of bone cracking, skull bursting, blood boiling and flesh turning to ash led that the researchers say led to “instant death.”
Esieh Lake in northern Alaska is releasing so much trapped methane that you can literally set the air ablaze.
The lake, which can be heard bubbling and hissing as the gas slowly seeps out from beneath the snow and ice, has been the subject of a decade-long study led by aquatic ecosystem ecologist Katey Walter Anthony from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Back in 2010, she became the unwitting host of a viral video showing a team of scientists poking holes in the ice and setting fire to the gas.
The explanation for this strange phenomenon, it turns out, is that a large amount of methane gas trapped in the permafrost is being released as the ice melts, creating holes in the lake bed.
The gas then creates bubbles which rise to the surface and escape in to the atmosphere.
During the winter when the lake is frozen over, the bubbles become trapped but can be selectively released and burnt off by creating holes in the surface and setting the escaping gas on fire.
While the phenomenon might seem harmless enough, the fact that this is happening at all is indicative of a larger problem that could lead to a runaway global warming effect in the not-too-distant future.
Source: Live Science