Did a Volcano in Alaska Bring Down the Roman Republic?

Scientists and historians think a powerful eruption of Alaska's Mount Okmok may have helped to usher in imperial rule in ancient Rome.


NSFW    RENO, NEVADA — According to new research, a powerful volcanic eruption in modern-day Alaska around 44 B.C. may have contributed to the Roman Republic's downfall on the other side of the globe.

This study was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The eruption left a 10 km wide crater in Mount Okmok that survives to this day, the research team led by Joe McConnell of Desert Research Institute said in a news release.

The event likely caused destabilizing environmental changes that paved the way for the imperial system after Julius Caesar was killed.

According to the team, the estimated time of the volcano's eruption, which would have led to climate-altering levels of fallout, coincided with a period of extreme cold, crop failures and famines in the written records.

Scientists used various materials to date the eruption including tree ring-based climate records from Scandinavia and volcanic remains called tephra from the Arctic ice.

The climate records and tephra both supported the hypothesis of an eruption in Alaska.
Did a Volcano in Alaska Bring Down the Roman Republic?

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