4.11 Carusi 1858

Giuseppe Maria Carusi, Tre passeggiate … ovvero Osservazioni sulla eruzione vesuviana del detto anno e sulla influenza sua verso gli esseri organizzati, Naples 1858

Zx 60-4580 raro IV

Giuseppe Maria Carusi (1814-1892), a native of Baselice in the Benevento area, was a physician and natural scientist. He taught in Salerno and Naples and published on topics of medicine, zoology and botany, as well as a biography of Domenico Cirillo, of whom his father had been a pupil. In his observations on the eruption of Vesuvius in 1855, he addresses the issues of ‘the uplift of lava towards the trunks of trees, the gathering of insects around the Vesuvian vents and the generation of new vegetation after great fires’, for which he holds the electricity generated by the eruption responsible (pp. 63-65). One aspect of his botanical studies is devoted to the infestation of vines with powdery mildew (Oidium tuckeri), a plant disease introduced from North America that began to spread in Europe in 1845. He notes that vines exposed to volcanic fumes recover and attributes this to the effect of the smoke, in the same way that attempts had been made to smoke out the plague or other diseases (pp. 34-43). Indeed, the sulphur it contained, as is used today, may have been the active ingredient. [PH]

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