This supervolcano in Italy is in 'extremely dangerous state', new study finds

Scientists fear the eruption of a supervolcano in Italy, with a natural disaster potentially affecting more than half a million people. As some parts of the caldera are ‘stretched nearly to breaking point’, the danger is said to be very real.

This supervolcano in Italy is in 'extremely dangerous state', new study finds
© Photo by Carlos Reyes on
This supervolcano in Italy is in 'extremely dangerous state', new study finds

The Campi Flegrei (Phlegraean Fields)supervolcano near Naples, Italy last erupted in 1538 and is currently in an ‘extremely dangerous’ state, scientists warn.

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They believe that thousands of minor earthquakes that happened in the last 70 years have weakened the volcano's caldera and made the eruption more likely.

The town of Pozzuoli located on the volcano currently has a yellow risk level, but the local authorities already have an evacuation plan in place should the disaster occur.

Here is all you need to know.

Meanwhile, Mexico's deadliest volcano 'is coming to life' and could affect millions. Researchersalsoissued an alert about the impending danger of an earthquake that can shake Los Angeles, California 'any time'.

Will the Campi Flegrei volcano erupt?

Campi Flegrei volcano is thought to have contributed to the extinction of the Neanderthal man some 30,000 years ago.

The last eruption occurred over 500 years ago and lasted eight days, with the volcano shooting out enough lava, rocks and clouds of ash to form a new mountain.

A surge in its activity resulted in the evacuation of 40,000 locals in the 80s.

A recent study by researchers at University College London (UCL) and the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV) has found that a reawakening of this supervolcano could be imminent.

Lead author Christopher Kilburn from UCL said:

We’re not saying there will be an eruption, we are saying that the conditions for an eruption are more favourable.

According to the scientists, tens of thousands of minor earthquakes that started in the 1950s have weakened the caldera of Campi Flegrei, with parts of it having been ‘stretched nearly to breaking point’.

Since 2019, the number of small tremors has been rising, piling pressure on the volcano’s crust. In April, 600 of these vibrations were recorded.

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What happens when the volcano erupts?

Covering a vast area and home to 500,000 people, the volcano is located in the town of Pozzuoli.

The local authorities already have an evacuation plan which stipulates that residents will be moved out of town and surroundings using private or public transport within three days.

Council spokesperson for Pozzuoli Giordana Mobilio confirmed that risk levels are reviewed monthly and currently stand on yellow.

Local residents also receive text alerts if a tremor greater than 1.5 in magnitude on the Richter scale occurs.

Kilburn thinks that a big eruption of Campi Flegrei is unlikely, but a series of small ones could take place.

The study’s authors wrote:

An eventual eruption could be preceded by relatively weak signals, such as a smaller rate of ground uplift and fewer earthquakes.

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Sources used:

- EuroNews Green: 'This supervolcano in Italy last erupted in 1538. Is it about to blow again?'

Humanity heading for self-destruction as new study reveals Earth is in 'very bad shape' Humanity heading for self-destruction as new study reveals Earth is in 'very bad shape'