Set to blow? Supervolcano Campi Flegrei reawakening near Naples, could hit 500,000 people

Wednesday, December 21, 2016
By Paul Martin
21 Dec, 2016

An Italian supervolcano is showing signs of reawakening, with any eruption potentially affecting half a million people, scientists say. The volcano is located across the Bay of Naples from the famous Vesuvius, which saw one of the most destructive eruptions in history.

Campi Flegrei, or the Phlegraean Fields, is a large volcanic area located in the metropolitan area of Naples, one of the most densely-inhabited areas in the world, with over 3 million people. The 13km-wide ‘caldera’, a large cauldron-like depression, lies mostly underwater and has 24 craters and volcanic edifices.

A recent study led by Italian and French scientists from the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Bologna states that, “Of the several quiescent calderas worldwide, Campi Flegrei has recently shown among the clearest signs of unrest.”

The research was released on Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications.

The study says that there is a certain threshold beyond which magma could trigger the release of fluids and gases at an increased rate.

“Hydrothermal rocks, if heated, can ultimately lose their mechanical resistance, causing acceleration towards critical conditions,” Giovanni Chiodini, a researcher, told AFP.

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