29 thoughts on “The heat from Vesuvius, 79 CE

  1. Katelyn Brawner

    This article was very interesting to read! This was the first time I have heard of the process vitrification. I also did not know that the human brain can liquefy. However, I do not understand how proteins were found of the shards of glass from 79 CE.

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    1. Katie Kaloustian

      Vitrification naturally preserves art and human remains. Would the man have felt the process of vitrification occurring in his skull or would he be dead by then? When the heat kills the body, does one die slowly or do the organs and brain shut down first so as not to feel anything?
      I agree that I don’t understand how proteins are found in and tested from glass.

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      1. Nina Sacco

        I found the vitrification process really interesting, too, and I was really surprised that this was the first vitrified brain that has been found so far. I also thought the two different theories about the fractures to the skull were crazy to think about. One being the brain exploding and the other being fractures from falling debris. You have to hope that both of these situations with the brain would cause an immediate death so that these people didn’t suffer. I think it’s interesting also that so few people stayed so close to the volcano, so you have to wonder if they thought they would die and wanted to stay in their home, or did not find out until it would have been to late to leave.

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    2. Maddy Sever

      I had also never heard of vitrification. The concept of the human brain liquifying yet the tissues maintaining somewhat, enough for it to be found in shards of glass is confusing to me. I think it would be interesting to do some more research on this subject to learn more of the science behind the process and maybe some additional examples.

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  2. seamus brennan

    This article was very interesting mainly because i have never heard of vitrification and to think that your brain can be exposed to so much heat from a volcano that it just liquifies is crazy to think out. Also if this process preserves things does that mean its possible to find out so many things from digging around volcano sights and seeing what been incases in it.

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  3. Jack Hurst

    The article about Vesuvius was crazy in simplest terms. The horror that the citizens had seen is terrifying. The way heat and pressure can make a human’s head explode is intense. The theory about the “obsidian” in the man’s skull but was actually part of his brain is fascinating, how after all its be through, parts of the brain are preserved.

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  4. caroline Walker

    WOW!! I am speechless at the findings of the vitrified brain. Two millennials have come and gone, but this mans glassed over brain has remained. I found it very interesting that the heat from the eruption could cause glass to form and over a brain?! It is a tragic way to die but what an amazing artifact of the human body.

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  5. Anna Jaca

    This was definitely one of the most interesting articles I have ever read. I never could have even considered that the brain could turn into glass. It’s a sad thing that those citizens went through (especially given that their blood got so hot that their heads exploded). That is absolutely terrifying and gruesome. Although it’s sad, it’s also interesting to find that the human brain got so over heated that it melted, cooled, and turned into glass. There are definitely so few people that even have such a thought cross their mind,

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  6. Mackenzie Hoffman

    This article was very interesting to read. The title was shocking and definitely grabbed my attention. It is crazy to think that nature has the ability to do such a thing. While I have definitely heard of vitrification with sand turning into glass, I have never given it enough thought about how other substances, even human tissue, can turn into a glass through this process. This being the first time a glass brain is found is extremely excited, as well as the probabilities of what they might find from the preservation.

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  7. Joseph Lewis

    That was a really cool article! It is crazy to think that just because he stayed behind and didn’t run from the volcano, his brain turned into glass. Also crazy to think how temperatures during the eruption could have gotten that hot to melt and turn a mans brain into glass. Fascinating and interesting are about the only few words I take from after reading this really interesting article.

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  8. Meghan McLees

    Even though, who ever brain that was at the time, even though it probably would have hurt, this piece is interesting. Not even knowing that it is part of a brain, the piece looks fragile. Before knowing it was a brain, I would have assumed the artist had to be precise about the angles and creating different shapes on the piece. Finding a glass brain is exciting because it is an interesting design, so it could be inspired by other artists to be inspired by the glass brain. Also knowing that the glass brain came out of nature, knowing this comes to the question that their are probably other pieces like this around the world.

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  9. Zach Adams

    This article was super interesting. I was very shocked to learn that from that much heat it turned his brain into glass. I have never heard of this before but it’s crazy to think about and also really interesting that brain proteins were found on the shards when it was from so long ago.

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  10. Anthony Tiberia

    The heat experienced by Vesuvius victims once again amazes the archeologist at the damage it caused. It was truly a tragic event that left its victims mummified on the spot due to the exposure of the volcanic heat. In this case, it turned a person’s brain to glass which has never been seen before. It amazes me that the people in charge of the research of the glass brain remains are going beyond the exterior examination of the brain. They believe that more can be discovered on a cellular level through research glass brain to discover more about our ancestors.

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  11. Sierra A

    The process of “vitrification” was weird to think about. I was ready to be skeptical about it when they said this was the first and only time they have found a vitrified brain but the explanation of the process cleared it up well. It’s really cool and I wouldn’t have ever thought that it was possible, especially when like it said, most preserved brain tissue has a soapy texture, rather than this glass shard texture. Also- the thought of steam boiling someone’s blood so much that their head explodes is slightly horrifying.

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  12. Michaela Steinbauer

    This article was very interesting to read and learn about. They mentioned that the man whose brain liquefied more than likely died alone. The intensity of the heat turned the person’s brain into glass! I learn something new everyday and it is fascinating to see that anything can turn into art.

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  13. Nathaniel Holic

    It was interesting to learn more about vitrification and that it is even possible for a brain to be affected by it, as I have only heard of vitrification with plants. There is some tragedy in this story as people died due to the eruption, but their lives have made a great impact in today’s world.

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  14. Emily Hilbert

    Nobody really ever teaches about WHAT happened to the bodies of those who died in Pompeii and the surrounding areas. I, like most people, probably just assume the heat got so intense that they suddenly collapsed, or that a wash of ash blanketed the area and people suffocated. Not to say that it was romanticized in any way, but to mentally vision blood boiling to the extent that your head explodes, is enough to make me close the laptop and say “that’s enough internet for today.” With that said, there is still an air of mysticism around what really happened to all those people, and what is even more interesting, is how even after thousands of years, we are STILL learning more

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  15. Megan Meiser

    It was interesting to learn about the process of vitrification and what it can do, like turning someone’s brain into glass. It is also pretty cool that the brain was able to turn into glass, as it has never been seen before with vitrification. However, I am curious as to how the proteins were extracted from the glass, but it is still fascinating nonetheless. Additionally, this also raises the question as to whether there are other glass shards that contain brain proteins in the remains of Vesuvius.

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  16. Michael Srover

    I found that article very interesting to read! I thought it was crazy how the volcano turned his brains into glass. Also, I was very shocked to read that they found those proteins after all these years.

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  17. Nicole

    I loved reading this article!!!!! Wow that is so unbelievably cool that the man’s brain turned into glass from the heat of the volcano. I had no idea what vitrification was before I read this, but it was very interesting to learn about.

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  18. Caroline Tinsley

    This was a crazy read, I had never heard of vitrification but it seems not at all pleasant. The fact that he was sleeping when the volcano erupted and the lava heated his brain so quickly that it melted his brain and turned it to glass is horrifying and also incredibly interesting. On top of that, it’s very sad to think about how this man died alone with no one around him to even remember him.

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  19. Mackenzie Reynolds

    This was an interesting but very vulgar read. The fact that a brain was heated enough to explode is terrifying. The concept of vitrification was something I had heard before but did not know it could be applied to brain matter. It is unfortunate with what happened to Pompeii because a lot of architecture, artifacts, people, and animals were lost in the tragedy.

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  20. Hannah Sexton

    WOW! This article was so interesting. The fact that archaeologists found remains of a human brain just blows my mind. I always thought that the extreme heat from the eruption would just disintegrate the human body and leave nothing behind. I had never heard of the term vitrification, but I find the concept really fascinating that the human brain turned to liquid and then back to solid. I think this discovery will allow other doors to be opened for researchers and future discoveries.

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  21. Joseph Hairston

    Glass brains? After reading this post, I’m really interested in what this discovery will mean? What will you do with it? But I think for now, it adds to the picture of the effects of such a horrible event in Man’s history. This man died alone vaporized and suffocated. Who would have imaged that some part of him would live on to hopefully one day help people two millennia later understand his short time on this earth?

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  22. Melissa Beirne

    The article was very interesting and a little disturbing. It is strange to think about a human brain turning into glass just because of heat. What happened to the bodies when the Volcano erupted still blows my mind and is fascinating.

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  23. Elizabeth Glenn

    WOW! This article was very fascinating and crazy. I have never heard of the vetrified process but sounds like the perfect way to preserve art and human remains. It is very interesting that this is the first ever vetrified brain to be found. It is very interesting that they were able to find proteins present in the glass. How is that possible? I also find it really depressing that this man was left behind to die. I am hoping that his death was fast.

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  24. Stephanie Cruz

    The title immediately grabbed my attention and I immediately started reading. I have never heard about the vitrification process but I was fascinated by how this process affected the human body. I find it cool how nature and the human body react with each other, in this case how the temperature of the volcano can cause the human blood to boil and cause the head to explode. I’ve never heard of the brain turning into glass which is pretty cool but I can’t imagine the suffering of the person. This article was very attention-grabbing and fascinating at the same time.

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  25. Elena Streeter

    This article was an interesting read. I had never heard about vitrification before, and although it is a very interesting process, this man’s story is sad. It is upsetting to think that he died alone and in such a horrific way; however, I am glad that his remains have been found because not only do they allow us to better understand what happened, he can also rest in peace.

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  26. Jefferson Reyes

    It was an incredibly interesting article. I have never heard of vitrification before, and it astonishes me what it can do. It is a bit confusing on how they find the proteins even after everything the brain went through. It would be interesting to have a follow-up and see if they actually find more than just proteins.

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