Daily Express – Jun 26, 2023
A supervolcano in Italy could erupt and cause mass extinctions, obliterate crops, and spark mass evacuations of nearby communities, scientists have warned.
The crust of the Campi Flegrei volcano, near Naples in southern Italy, is becoming weaker and more prone to rupturing, “making an eruption more likely”, research recently published in the journal Communications Earth & Environment said.
It could erupt soon, a new study states, and it would be the first time since 1538.
If the volcano erupts, it could launch molten rock and volcanic gases high into the stratosphere.
It could lead to 100ft tsunamis, leading sulfur, and toxic ash to spread causing fears it could destroy crops and wildlife, plunging the Earth into a global winter.
Most at risk are the roughly 500,000 people whose homes lie near the supervolcano – many of them in the coastal town of Pozzuoli.
Campi Flegrei, which means Burning Fields in Greek, is a large region of supervolcanic calderas – large depression formed when a volcano erupts and collapses.
It is located about an hour drive away from another famous Neapolitan volcano – Vesuvius – it is only visible from the sky as it doesn’t look like a traditional mountain but, rather, it is shaped as a gentle depression 12-14km across – thus is known as a caldera.
But a recent rise in the number of earthquakes in the area has concerned scientists, with more than 600 recorded in April alone.
Local resident Francesco Cammarota told the Guardian: “Some days there are more than one. It’s frightening, especially at night. One day it will just go off.”
Supervolcanoes refer to volcanoes that can produce eruptions of the highest magnitude, reaching an 8 on the Volcano Explosivity Index. During eruptions, they can expel more than 240 cubic miles (1,000 cubic kilometers) of material.
Its biggest eruption ranked as a category 7 – which can be disastrous, according to Live Science.
Since the eruption almost 500 years ago, the area has been gently sinking due to rising magma pushing the ground above it up, with the city of Pozzuoli lifted almost four metres in the last 70 years.