Mount Vesuvius eruption turned ancient victim’s brain to glass

Mount Vesuvius eruption turned ancient victim’s brain to glass
In this May 14, 2014 photo, plaster casts showing victims as they were overcome by the heat and toxic gases of the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius, which in A.D. 79 destroyed the ancient town of Pompeii, near modern-day Naples, Italy, and Herculaneum. The victims were found in an orchard that came to be known as the Garden of the Fugitives, a reference to the doomed locals' attempts to flee disaster. An estimated 2.5 million people visit the ruins each year. (Source: AP Photo/Michelle Locke)

(AP) - Scientists say the ancient blast of Mount Vesuvius turned the brain matter of one victim into glass.

That’s according to a study of the victim published by the New England Journal of Medicine.

Officials at the Herculaneum archaeology site said Thursday it was the first time the phenomenon of vitrification has been verified from a volcanic eruption.

The eruption of Vesuvius in the year 79 instantly killed the inhabitants of Pompeii and neighboring Herculaneum, burying an area 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the volcano in ash in just a few hours.

The remains of a man lying on a wooden bed were discovered at Herculaneum in the 1960s.

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