The Italian supervolcano locally known as Campi Flegrei was formed approximately 40,000 years ago, say the scientists. One theory even claims that a massive eruption traced back to Campi Flegrei could have led to the mass extinction of the Neanderthals. The supervolcano displayed its last signs of activity back in 1538. Even though the final blast did not come near Campi Flegrei’s previous explosions, it still led to the creation of a new hill, the Mount Nuovo.
The volcanic area is approximately eight miles wide and is located across the Bay of Naples from the Vesuvius. However, the caldera, which is composed of nearly 24 volcanic edifices and crates is mostly submerged.
In 2012, the supervolcano’s status was changed from green, which stands for quiet to yellow, which meant that Campi Flegrei required immediate scientific attention. The change of status occurred after the researchers detected an increase in heating and low-level activity, as well as magma and ground deformation in the area.
The scientists fear that if the supervolcano is to come back to life, a potential eruption could affect as many as 500,000 people out of the three million individuals living in the area. The joint team of French and Italian researchers from the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Bologna noted in their study that out of several calderas across the globe, Campi Flegrei showed the clearest signs of activity and unrest. The team of researchers made its discovery public on Tuesday, December 27th, in the journal Nature Communications.
Even though the supervolcano does not pose any threat to the population at the moment, the scientists say that past a certain threshold magma is able to trigger a deadly release of gasses and fluids at increased rates. Giovanni Chiodini, one of the researchers in charge with observing the Campi Flegrei’s activity says that it is not yet clear if or when the supervolcano will erupt. However, if it does so, Mr. Chiodini believes it would take an incredible toll on Naples’ population.
He adds that the 500,000 individuals living near Campi Flegri will make authorities’ job even harder if there will ever be an eruption.
Image Souce: Pixabay
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