how those encased in the Pompeii volcano were encased so perfectly?


how those encased in the Pompeii volcano were encased so perfectly?

In: Biology

The bodies were covered very quickly with ash and lava. And while people died instantly from this it takes time for a body to burn up. There is a lot of mass and a lot of water that needs to be heated first. So the lava had time to cool and harden around the bodies first. Especially those covered in the colder ash which compacted around them and sintered to stone from the heat with their dead bodies inside. In this rock there have been little oxygen and microbes to decompose the bodies. The heat have also caused some of what was previously biological material to survive. However most of the bodies that can be seen today are castings of the voids left by the bodies.

A “pyroclastic flow” (what killed most of the people in Pompeii) is a searing hot cloud of gas at several hundred degrees and rolling down the mountain at hundreds of km/h.

When that hit the city, anyone outside of a bunker would have been killed almost instantly where they were, one breath of the cloud pretty much liquifies your lungs.

Over the next few hours and days, ash from the volcano settled deeper and deeper, burying the bodies of the already-dead people. That’s the trick, they were already motionless and stiff when they were encased. And then what they were encased in too – a thick layer of fine ash that packed in all around them and then compacted further under weight and time, sealing the bodies in a solid mass.

I am quite confident that the “bodies” you see in pompeii are castings made of gypsum plaster from the voids that were created by the human bodies that were originally there.

Basically, the ashes buried the dead people, the body decomposed over almost 2000 years while the ashes were hardened and stayed put. This created human-shaped holes that people filled in with plaster to create a ‘model’ of the dead person.