A volcano that has been dormant in Italy for a long time, since 1538, is about to erupt, scientists warned in their new study, and the consequences could be catastrophic. The scientists published their respective findings in the journal Communications Earth & Environment.
The Campi Flegrei volcano, located not far from Naples in southern Italy, has a crust that is becoming increasingly weak and close to rupturing and could erupt, scientists said.
About 1.5 million people live near the volcano in the 11-kilometer-long "big cauldron," which was formed as a result of the eruption that took place 39,000 years ago.
If Campi Flegrei repeats its previous powerful eruption, it will send volcanic gases and rock into the stratosphere, generate a tsunami 33.5 meters high, and release sulfur and toxic ash that could plunge the Earth into deep winter for years—destroying crops and causing mass extinction.
The new research confirms that Campi Flegrei is close to erupting, said Professor Christopher Kilburn, who studies earth sciences at University College London and was the lead author of the study. He warned that this does not mean that the eruption will definitely happen. A crack in the crust can occur, but for an eruption to occur, it is necessary for magma to come out in the necessary place.
Campi Flegrei, meaning "burning fields," is a network of 24 craters in front of Mount Vesuvius, on the western edge of Naples, and extending to the nearby Gulf of Pozzuoli.
Supervolcanoes are volcanoes that can erupt very strongly, with a magnitude of 8 on the volcanic explosivity index, emitting more than 1,000 cubic kilometers of volcanic mass.