A scientific report has been published by the Nature Communications journal which suggests that a huge supervolcano which was dormant for a long time may by approaching a “critical state.” The Campi Flegrei supervolcano lies beneath an area in Italy which is inhabited by almost 500,000 people.
In Italian Campi Flegrei means “burning fields” and like other supervolcanoes such as the one in Yellowstone National Park is not a single volcano, it is a large complex of 24 craters underground or undersea, it also has numerous vents and geysers that can release hot gasses.
The group of scientists was lead by Giovanni Chiodini of the Italian National Institute of Geophysics of Rome, the wrote:
“Based on physical measurements and computer modeling, we propose that magma could be approaching the CDP [critical degassing pressure] at Campi Flegrei, a volcano in the metropolitan area of Naples, one of the most densely inhabited areas in the world, and where accelerating deformation and heating are currently being observed,”
The scientists have also warned that in the near future possible release of hot magmatic gasses could trigger huge eruptions, however, it is not currently possible to predict the exact timeframe of the eruption.
The Italian government is taking the reports seriously and it has raised its volcano threat level to Yellow which was previously on Green which means that the situation needs immediate and constant scientific monitoring.
The formation of Campi Flegrei happened thousands of years ago according to estimates, almost 200,000 years ago it erupted and spewed so much ash into the atmosphere that it caused a “volcanic winter.”
The volcano erupted again 35,000 years ago and then in 12,000 years ago, the volcanic area was known by the ancient Greeks.
The last sizeable eruption occurred in 1538, that even was 8 days long and it created the Monte Nuovo. After that explosion the volcano went dormant and had remained in that state for almost 500 years.
However, scientists have said that it is impossible to predict the time of a volcanic eruption and we may not witness any catastrophic supervolcano eruptions in our lifetimes. Until then more research and study is required.
Recently the scars of an ancient supervolcano have been found in Seisa Valley in Italy, according to scientists the eruption took place 280 million years ago and it caused a global cooling event.