Activity Within Naples Supervolcano Stirs Concern Among Experts


Scientists warn an eruption at Campi Flegrei near Naples would be catastrophic for 1.5 million people in the region.

The following article, written by Lydia Smith, appears on The Independent. 

Naples’ supervolcano is reaching ‘dangerous’ levels

Scientists have discovered a “hot zone” feeding a supervolcano near Naples in southern Italy, prompting fears it is nearing eruption.

Campi Flegrei, a volcanic caldera to the west of Naples, last erupted centuries ago and has been quiet since the 1980s, when the movement of magma into the volcano’s shallow chamber caused a series of small earthquakes.

Seismographic data from those tremors have now allowed scientists to pinpoint the source of the magma that entered Campi Flegrei’s chamber and caldera, the hot zone.

Analysis of this zone suggests the supervolcano is becoming more dangerous.

“One question that has puzzled scientists is where magma is located beneath the caldera, and our study provides the first evidence of a hot zone under the city of Pozzuoli that extends into the sea at a depth of 4 km,” said Dr Luca De Siena, who led the study at the University of Aberdeen.

“While this is the most probable location of a small batch of magma, it could also be the heated fluid-filled top of a wider magma chamber, located even deeper.”

His research suggests magma was blocked from rising to the surface in the 1980s by a 1-2km-deep rock formation, which forced it to release stress along a lateral route.

It is not yet clear what this means for the volcano’s future, but the relatively low amount of seismic activity in the area in the last three decades suggests pressure is building within the caldera. Continue reading at The Independent. 

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