‘Sleeping’ supervolcano near Naples ‘could be building up to eruption’
A 'sleeping' supervolcano near the city of Naples in Italy is 'entering a new build-up phase' researchers have said – and warned of a 'large volume eruption' to come.
The researchers analysed 23 eruptions from Campgi Flegrei's history – one of which spewed ash over 1.4 million square miles.
Analysis of rock samples from that eruption and more recent eruptions suggests that the volcano is building up to another major eruption.
But the researchers say that it could be hundreds or even thousands of years before it happens.
The researchers write, 'We propose that the subvolcanic plumbing system at Campi Flegrei is currently entering a new build-up phase, potentially culminating, at some undetermined point in the future, in a large volume eruption.'
The volcano last erupted in 1538 – and 500,000 people now live inside or near the volcano's caldera.
The Campi Flegrei caldera was formed 39,000 years ago – in the largest eruption in Europe in the past 200,000 years.
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Since 2005, the volcano has been undergoing what scientists describe as 'uplift' – and Italian authorities raised the alert level to yellow in 2012.
The authors write, 'Our data reveal that the most recent eruption of Monte Nuovo is characterised by highly differentiated magmas akin to those that fed the pre-caldera activity and the initial phases of the caldera-forming eruptions.'
'We suggest that this eruption is an expression of a state shift in magma storage conditions, whereby substantial amounts of volatiles start to exsolve in the shallow reservoir.'
The researchers say that the magma from a recent eruption is similar to that seen in previous devastating supervolcano eruptions.