perispomenon wrote:I recall seeing a documentary which stated that in the city, people died from asphyxiation, and that people who had been able to flee the city and were close to the sea, were hit by a pyroclastic flow.
In Herculaneum it is widely acknowledged that the lack of ash in the correct layer of earth indicates pyroclastic surge. That was by the sea in the port, with the dozens in the boat-house with their brains exploded in their skulls and some of their bones blackened with carbonisation.
In Pompeii on the other hand, there were reports of pyroclastic flow hitting one of the cities' walls, searing all that was there. But the people at the Marina in Pompeii are unlikely to have experienced this. I know that a lot did die of gas poisoning related asphyxaition from sulphur fumes within homes, and some died of respiratory collapse (from the oxygen deficiency and being cramped in the homes). Still others died of injuries from collapsing buildings. I would however have thought that the amount of ash ejected that blew over Pompeii must have caused some asphyxiation, although, now that I come to think of it, it may have been that the wind was too strong to allow settling to kill.
There must have been more than one surge and flow, and many would have died over the asphyxiation before truly momentous volcanic events happened.