A thick layer of solidified ash discovered in the region of Lake Volvi, in northern Greece, was caused by the eruption of Italy's Mount Vesuvius some 18,000 years ago, scientists said yesterday. The deposits landed in the area after the volcano erupted about 18,300 years ago, spraying hot ash across Italy and into Albania and Greece, according to experts from Thessaloniki's Aristotle University. The ash layer, ranging from 50 centimeters to 3 meters in thickness, was found around Lake Mygdonia, a smaller body of water near Lake Volvi. Experts are certain that it originated from Mount Vesuvius and, in particular, from the catastrophic eruption that buried the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum, killing thousands of people. «The explosion was so strong that the ash flew over the Apennine Mountains, over Greece's mountain ranges and settled in Lake Volvi,» said Michail Fytikas, a member of the university's research team. Ash from the blast, known as Pomisi di Base eruption, penetrated the atmosphere, reaching the stratosphere. It is regarded as the most violent eruption of the Italian volcano. Mount Vesuvius, located east of Naples, last erupted in March 1944. Greece has four volcanos: on the islands of Santorini, Nisyros and Milos and on the mainland in Methana. Santorini is the site of one of the largest volcanic eruptions ever: A blast around 1630 BC is believed to have destroyed the Minoan civilization.