Supervolcano in Italy could erupt soon, scientists say

A supervolcano located near Naples, Italy, is becoming more dangerous, scientists say.
By Delila James | Sep 18, 2017
A supervolcano just west of Naples, Italy, is showing signs it may be getting ready to erupt, according to a new study published in the journal Scientific Reports.

The researchers say their study of the supervolcano, known as Campi Flegrei, could help scientists better predict when volcanic explosions will occur.

Campi Flegrei a caldera that has not erupted since 1538 is located only a few miles from Mount Vesuvius, the volcano that exploded in 79 A.D. and left parts of the ancient Roman city of Pompeii preserved in ash.

An eruption on the scale of the 1538 explosion "would be highly destructive for the dense metropolitan city of Naples," according to the study.

Over the past several decades, scientists have seen evidence that magma is moving beneath the surface including volcanic activity in the early 1980s, when the ground lifted up and magma filled the 10-foot-thick gap.

Now, using seismolgical techniques, scientists have identified the location of the 'hot zone' that has been feeding the caldera.

"During the last 30 years the behavior of the volcano has changed, with everything becoming hotter due to fluids permeating the entire caldera," explained study leader Dr. Luca De Siena at the University of Aberdeen, in a statement. "Whatever produced the activity under Pozzuoli in the 1980s has migrated somewhere else, so the danger doesn't just lie in the same spot, it could now be much nearer to Naples which is more densely populated."

The relatively small amount of seismic activity around Campi Flegrei since the 1980s could mean that pressure is building inside the caldera.

"What this means in terms of the scale of any future eruption we cannot say, but there is no doubt that the volcano is becoming more dangerous," De Siena said.

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