CAMPI FLEGREI: The largest Supervolcano in Europe, is waking up

In the Northwest of Naples, we find the supervolcano Campi Flegrei. At the end of 2016 an international team of geologists published an alarming study. Although it has been without activity for almost 500 years, the last time was in 1538, Campi Flegrei is showing signs that she is waking up. For people who do not know what a supervolcano is, it is a larger volcano than normal, but its capacity for destruction is enormous. In fact, in Europe, Mount Flegrei has been the volcano with the largest proportions.

The volcano's caldera was formed 39.000 years ago, and it has been the largest eruption in 200.000 years.. Some correlate, although it is not certain and there are many more theories aside, a relationship between the eruption of the Campi de Flegrei and the extinction of the Neanderthal homo. A supervolcano like the Campi de Flegrei is not just any other, volcanoes so large that they can collapse in on themselves, creating extensive regions of craters, geysers, hydrothermal activity and sulfuric acid. The Yellowstone volcano in the United States is a good example.

How is it and who have been dedicated to its study?

volcano eruption lava

Campi Flegrei consists of 24 craters, and a whole series of volcanic buildings (most of them submerged in the Mediterranean Sea). 200.000 years ago, long before the present caldera was formed, the volcano erupted. A study published in 2010 by experts from the University of Chicago affirms that this event led to a nuclear winter. With the ash blocking sunlight for years on end, it has been estimated that more than 3,7 trillion liters of molten rock rose to the surface during the eruption. Emitting a massive amount of sulfuric acid into the atmosphere.

As stated at that time, Giuseppe de Natale, from the Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, that these phenomena are the only ones really comparable to the effects that the fall of a large meteorite could have.

volcano campi flegrei naples

Redondel Rojo, an area of ​​about 12km in diameter. The Yellow Round is Vesuvius

The surface it occupies is not the classic one of a volcano, such as Vesuvius, located very close to the Campi Flegrei. But it is scattered, with many craters, as we can see in the image. Also add that Vesuvius, has been showing signs of greater activity and pressure. We can observe in the roundabout, the land area, and the one it occupies within the Mediterranean Sea.

Until a few months ago, the team of volcanologists from the National Institute of Geophysics, led by Giovanni Chiodini, stated in their study that the volcano's pressure is reaching its critical point. It may be that nothing happens. These types of volcanoes do not have a measurable central cone and the underground magma in it tends to occupy a larger area. But this is shown by the signs of the different boilers. As indicated, its effects could affect the 500.000 people who live in the area.

As the years go by, the activity and pressure increase

campi flegrei volcano

During the last decade, Campi Flegrei has experienced a series of events. Indicate that gases are rising to the surface at an ever-increasing rate. Italian authorities raised the alert level in 2012 from green to yellow. Which means that from a calm one, one begins to monitor the activity. Do their inhabitants have to evacuate? No. According to Chiodini, we will have to wait to see how everything develops and what the behavior of the boiler will be. But it is rash to anticipate when it will erupt, if you decide to do so. For now, yes, there is clear evidence of activity that was not being recorded. The effects that the eruption would entail is to be very attentive to eventualities.

We will continue to look forward to upcoming events. Hopefully the news does not go beyond saying that in recent years there has been a little more activity than normal. Otherwise, the level of catastrophism it could reach, we can only imagine through the words of experts who have studied its effects in the past.


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