Wikipedia defines volcanoes as “a rupture in the crust of a planetary-mass object, such as Earth, that allows hot lava, volcanic ash, and gases to escape from a magma chamber below the surface.”
Even if you had no knowledge about volcanoes, from the definition you can assume they’re dangerous and can be deadly. In the ancient times whenever a volcano erupted it was believed that it’s the gods’ doing, who are punishing people for their sins.
In modern times, we know that God has nothing to do with volcanic eruptions, but it’s a natural catastrophe. When we think about volcanic eruptions we immediately think about Pompeii. Pompeii was a thriving city in the Roman Empire (the area off the coast of Naples, southern Italy) which was completely destroyed in 79 AD, after Mount Vesuvius erupted. Almost all of the population was killed in this catastrophic event.
Now the area is an archeological site, visited by many tourists from all around the world. It was marked by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1997.
If Pompeii has taught us anything it’s how deadly volcanic eruptions can be. We’d like to leave this event behind but it seems that a similar catastrophe might be near as a group of researchers warns about a possible eruption of a volcano, one of the largest in the history of the world, Campi Flegrei, just west of Naples, Italy. And if their estimates are correct it could happen very soon.
In English, Campi Flegrei means “burning fields”. The area has been marked as being a more active volcanic system. It’s part of the Campanian volcanic arc, a chain of volcanoes that includes the infamous Mount Vesuvius that destroyed the city of Pompeii. Back in 2003, the Italian government declared the area a regional park.
Campi Flegrei lies mostly underwater. It has a caldera consisting of 24 craters and volcanic edifices.( A caldera is a volcanic feature formed by the collapse of a volcano into itself, making it a large, special form of volcanic crater.)
According to estimates, more than half a million people currently live in the eruption area, making it one of the most densely populated areas near Naples. According to a study conducted in 2010, one of Camp Flegrei’s volcanoes erupted some 40.000 years ago, erasing the Neanderthals from existence.
The group of researchers that’s been warning about the imminent threat of Camp Flegrei compiled their findings into a study which has just been accepted by the Nature Communications journal. According to the study, the volcanic eruption in Campi Flegrei is “reaching a critical state.”
The leader of the study, Giovanni Chiodini of the Italian National Institute of Geophysics in Rome, and his team used advanced methods to determine if such an eruption is really imminent. Using computer modeling and physical measurements they concluded that the volcano is most likely reaching critical degassing pressure and an explosion is going to happen soon.
The study doesn’t give exact time and date when this unfortunate event could happen because there’s no way of determining it for sure. It does warn that the abrupt release of hot magmatic gases could soon trigger the largest volcano eruption the world has seen in modern times.
Since the study was published the Italian government changed the country’s volcano threat level from green to yellow which actually means that instead of believing the volcano will be quiet, they will set a constant 24-hour-a-day scientific surveillance to observe any additional clues which might indicate its possible eruption, The Mind Unleashed reports.
National Geographic is also closely monitoring how the events will unfold and has a team on site. They report: “Campi Flegrei means “burning fields” in Italian. The volcanic region is also known as the Phlegraean Fields. Like other supervolcanoes—such as the one responsible for the geothermal features of Yellowstone—it is not a single volcanic cone. Rather, it’s a large complex, much of it underground or under the Mediterranean Sea, that includes 24 craters, as well as various geysers and vents that can release hot gas.”
Don’t think for a second that this is some made-belief story, unfortunately it’s a nightmare that’s threatening to become our reality very soon. The sooner Italy and Europe start preparing for this catastrophic event the better, it will mean a whole world of difference if we’re prepared for this possibility the best we can. Spread the word, get people informed!