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A Dangerous Mountain

Many years ago, a volcano in Italy erupted, which means it blew up or exploded. Italy is a country in Europe. The volcano is called Mount Vesuvius (veh-SOO-vee-uhss). The explosion killed many people in a nearby town.

A volcano is a mountain or hill created by pressure from the Earth's center. When the pressure gets too strong, steam, deadly gases, and melted rock can spew out of the volcano and travel many miles. Mount Vesuvius is only one of many volcanoes on Earth.

A Sleeping Giant

The last time Mount Vesuvius erupted was about 60 years ago. Ever since then, it has been quiet. Sort of. Every few years, it rumbles.

Scientists think that another eruption might happen soon. They are worried that there are about 600,000 people now living in the red zone of Mount Vesuvius. The red zone is what people call the dangerous area near a volcano.

Keeping People Safe

Toward the end of 2003, the government of Italy offered each family in the red zone money to buy a new house in a safer place. The goal is to get as many people as possible away from the red zone before an eruption begins.

In this way, the government is working hard to keep its people safe. The government hopes that the next time Mount Vesuvius erupts, no one will be hurt.