“One day it’s just going to blow up”: are Naples’ volcanic craters about to explode?

The southern Italian city of Naples, known for its beautiful beaches and architecture, is a hidden threat that could lead to catastrophic consequences. Campi Flegrei, a constellation of ancient volcanic craters near the city, is in a more active state than Vesuvius. This place is inhabited by at least 360,000 people living in the seven most dangerous settlements.

Campi Phlegrei is a seven-mile caldera, or depression, formed 39,000 years ago after an eruption that devastated the magma. Subsequent eruptions last occurred in 1538 and formed a series of small hills and craters. But appearances can be deceiving. Campi Flegrei is one of Europe’s most dangerous volcanoes, a study by scientists at Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV) and University College London (UCL) confirms it.

Residents living in the area live in constant fear and anxiety. The Solfatara Crater, which is located in the center of the village, is a constant reminder of what could happen at any moment. The crater has been closed to the public since 2017, when an 11-year-old boy and his parents died after slipping in it.

There is an evacuation plan that says people will be evacuated within three days, either by their own vehicles or by buses, trains and boats. Risk levels – green, yellow, orange and red – are reviewed regularly. Pozzuoli is currently on yellow alert.

The situation with Campi Phlegrei, including underwater activity, is being monitored at the nearby INGV Vesuvius Observatory, established after Pozzuoli last evacuated in 1983. But scientists argue that more funding is needed to research and monitor the site.

Campi Phlegrei is not the only volcano in the world that poses a danger to human life. Many other volcanoes are also highly active and can lead to catastrophic consequences. For example, the eruption of volcano Etna in Sicily occurred in December 2018 and caused problems with transport and evacuation of people.

Science continues to study and monitor volcano activity to warn of possible threats and save lives. But no one can predict when the next eruption will occur, so we need to remain vigilant and ready to evacuate if necessary.

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