The experts are concerned that if Campi Flegrei, the only supervolcano in Europe, erupts again, it will affect 500,000 people.
This massive volcano has been showing signs of awakening lately. Magma might trigger a violent eruption of lava and gasses that would threaten many local communities on a wide range around Campi Flegrei.
A group of French and Italian experts from the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Bologna is currently monitoring the volcano. According to them, the supervolcano is clearly showing many signs of unrest.
Giovanni Chiodini, the lead author of the study, explains that when the hydrothermal rocks are heated too much, they lose their mechanical resistance, thus increasing the risk of an eruption. In other words, the gasses and lava inside the volcano become more likely to be spewed in the air.
Chiodini underlines that people must be aware of these risks in order to understand the volcano’s behavior. Nevertheless, the researchers can’t establish when Campi Flegrei will erupt. Since 2005, the low-level heating and activity have been increasing in the area around the volcano, the researchers say.
In addition, the team observed magma and ground deformation over the past few years. As such, in 2012, the experts changed Campi Flegrei’s status from green to yellow. Green means that the volcano is quiet, whereas yellow means that the scientists must carefully monitor the volcano.
Another problem is that over 500,000 people live in the area around the supervolcano. Local authorities have a very difficult task because they must provide the safety of so many residents, many of which are unaware of the risks.
The last eruption was recorded in 1538, but the researchers note that it was relatively small and created the hill known as Monte Nuovo. The name of the volcano comes from Italian, and it means “burning fields.”
Although fifty percent of it is buried under the water of the Mediterranean Sea, Campi Flegrei is still one of the most dangerous volcanos on the planet. There are many other volcanos around the world which have been showing signs of unrest over the past ten years.
Most of them are in the U.S. and Mexico. Also, based on the latest reports, a volcano in Alaska has recently erupted, so the local authorities are on high alert.