February 23, 2024

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A "supervolcano" last erupted in Italy in 1538. Experts warn it is "on the verge of erupting" again.

A “supervolcano” last erupted in Italy in 1538. Experts warn it is “on the verge of erupting” again.

A long-dormant ‘supervolcano’ in southern Italy is approaching a potential eruption – nearly six centuries after it last erupted, according to European researchers.

The Campi Flegrei volcano, which is located near the city of Naples, has become weaker over time and as a result is more prone to rupture, according to the report. Peer review study It was conducted by researchers from University College London, England, and the Italian National Research Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology.

The study used a volcano fracking model to interpret earthquake patterns and ground uplift. There have been tens of thousands of earthquakes around the volcano, and the town of Pozzuoli, which sits atop Campi Flegrei, has been lifted nearly 13 feet as a result of them. Earthquakes and landslides have stretched parts of the volcano “almost to the breaking point,” according to A. Press release about the studyand the earth seems to break rather than bend.

View of the seafront of Pozzuoli and Campi Flegrei.

Salvatore Laporta/Controllab/LightRocket via Getty Images


The press release stated that the quakes were caused by the movement of fluids below the surface. It’s not clear what these fluids are, but the researchers said they could be molten rock, magma, or natural volcanic gas.

Earthquakes occurred during periods of volcanic activity. And while it last erupted in 1538, it has been “turbulent” for decades, with unrest escalating in the 1950s, 1970s and 1980s. There has been a “slower phase of unrest” in the past 10 years, the researchers said, but 600 earthquakes were recorded in April, setting a new monthly record.

according to Live ScienceCampi Flegrei, often referred to as a “supervolcano,” can produce an eruption of up to Category 8 – the highest in the world. Volcano eruption indicator. However, the largest eruption of the Campi Flegrei volcano is technically classified as Category 7, which is still considered a very large and catastrophic eruption, according to LiveScience.

The study concluded that while the Campi Flegrei – which means “burning fields” – may be closer to rupturing, there is no guarantee that this will actually trigger an eruption.

said Professor Christopher Kilburn, who studies Earth sciences at University College London and lead author of the study.

Solfatara di Pozzuoli, one of the forty craters of the Campi Flegrei.

Vincenzo Izzo/LightRocket via Getty Images


Kilborn said this is the first time the model has been applied to a volcano in real time. Since the model was first used in 2017, Kilborn said, the volcano has behaved as expected, so the researchers plan to expand use of the model to look at other volcanoes that have reawakened after long periods of dormancy. The goal is to establish more reliable criteria for deciding whether an eruption is likely to occur and to create a model that can be applied to multiple volcanoes.

“The study is the first of its kind to predict the occurrence of rupture in an active volcano. It represents a step change in our goal to improve forecasts of eruptions worldwide,” Kilborn said.

Satellite image of Campi Flegrei also known as Phlegrean Fields, a supervolcano located mostly under the Gulf of Pozzuoli west of Naples on December 09, 2016 in Campi Flegrei, Italy.

/ Getty Images


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