Panic in Italy: A supervolcano threatens to awaken from centuries of sleep

Campi Flegrei, an Italian “supervolcano” that has been dormant for hundreds of years, is increasingly likely to erupt. Seismologists say that such an eruption would have enough force to cause a “mini ice age” for part of the planet. In addition, a submarine explosion can also trigger a tsunami up to 30 meters high. Scientists said the climate and populated coastal areas such as Pozzuoli and Sorrento would be severely affected.

Everyone knows Vesuvius, which erupted in 79 AD. Neighboring Pompeii was destroyed. But what few people know is that there is a much higher risk of an eruption an hour’s drive away than that famous fire-breathing mountain.

It is a much larger and more powerful volcano, which makes the eruption of Mount Vesuvius look like a smoldering fire.

Italian name for this volcano Campi Flegrei, But we like the English name better: Phlegraean fieldswhich means the amount of “flaming fields” or “fiery fields”.

The fact that few people are aware of this sleeping giant is the fact that it is located underground. But that doesn’t make it any less dangerous.
A new study from the Italian Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV) and University College London (UCL) concludes that Campi Flegrei is becoming increasingly “weaker” and “more prone to cracks and fractures”.

Increased seismic activity has also been recorded; A sign of gas and magma accumulating. In one month, scientists recorded more than 600 earthquakes in the region.
All signs that activity (and thus the potential for an eruption) is increasing.

immediate danger

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This is worrisome, not least because this is a densely populated coastal region.

For example, there is the town of Pozzuoli. With a population of 80,000, it’s located between the Mediterranean Sea and the Campi Flegrei, and right in the “red zone” – the area where the chance of being hit by deadly volcanic gas clouds is greatest.

Mauro Antonio de Vito of INGV has already confirmed that the city’s narrow streets will make a quick evacuation very difficult. “These areas have been urbanized no matter how weak they are,” de Vito said.

And this is not the only city at risk. In total, at least 500,000 people live in that “red zone,” and another million are exposed to other risks.

Just look at Naples. This city of more than 900,000 people may be safe from immediate destruction, but it is within easy reach of the toxic volcanic ash cloud.

super volcano

Although Campi Flegrei is often referred to as a supervolcano, in reality this is not entirely true. Supervolcanoes have the largest eruptions – 8 out of 10Volcano eruption indicator“.
More than 1,000 cubic kilometers of material must be disposed of for this.

However, the largest eruption of Campi Flegrei that we can detect so far was only 285 cubic kilometers. A volcanic eruption placed it in the seventh category.

But make no mistake: A Class VII outbreak would also have devastating consequences. Campi Flegrei’s sheer size means that if it erupts, parts of the world could potentially enter a mini ice age, altering the climate for decades.

If the volcano repeats its largest ever eruption, the consequences will be just as catastrophic. A mass of molten rock and volcanic gases would shoot into the stratosphere, there’s suddenly the potential for tsunamis over 100 feet high, and a plume of toxic sulfur and ash could plunge Earth into a kind of fake winter for years to come.
Global temperatures will drop and plants will die because the ash blocks sunlight.

And it’s not just that such an abnormal winter will be a disaster for nature. Many of the chemical elements that would be released into the cloud of such a volcanic eruption are also very dangerous. Fluorine, for example, can kill plants in higher concentrations and cause diseases (such as fluorosis) in animals.


But how awake is Cempi Flegrei really? Is it a “who knows what will happen” situation, or should we really be concerned?
Well, the truth is, unfortunately, closer to the second question than to the first.

The volcano has been in turmoil since the mid-20th century, with a slight increase in activity in the 1950s, 1970s and 1980s, and a new period of unrest began in the last decade and continues to this day.

During this period, the ground beneath Pozzuoli, the city that sits roughly on top of the volcano, has risen by 10 centimeters each year. It is an increase of at least 4 meters since the fifties.
Shows how much activity is underground in that area.

The region also experiences constant small earthquakes. In April, more than 600 (!) Earthquakes were detected – the largest monthly total ever recorded in the region.
Dozens of earthquakes were also monitored in the past week.

These many seismic shocks cause cracks in the ground, weakening the structure of the volcano and thus increasing the chance of an eruption.
“If the upward movement continues in this manner, the end result will be that the crust will remain so somewhere must break. “It can’t be extended forever,” said Christopher Kilburn, the professor who led the study.

So the danger is certainly real. But to convey a positive message: an eruption of the Sembei Phlegre volcano does not necessarily mean a massive disaster.

So Kilburn added some hope to the doomsday messages: “If there is an eruption in the near future, it will probably be on a fairly small scale. There may be a serious hill, but we do not expect the eruption to be as large as it was in the sixth century.” th”.

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Denton Watson

"Friend of animals everywhere. Evil twitter fan. Pop culture evangelist. Introvert."

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