Concern for the Italian supervolcano: the scenarios

Francesca Bianco, director of the Volcanoes Department at the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, in a report on the current bradyseismic phase at Campi Flegrei, explained the situation

by Lorenzo Ciotti
SHARE
Concern for the Italian supervolcano: the scenarios

The Campi Flegrei are a vast area located in the gulf of Pozzuoli, west of the city of Naples and its gulf, in Southern Italy. The area has been known since ancient times for its lively volcanic activity. It is an ancient supervolcano.

The Phlegraean area includes in particular the municipalities of Naples, Pozzuoli, Quarto, Giugliano in Campania, Bacoli and Monte di Procida. The area is a large caldera in a state of quiescence, with a diameter of 15-18 km, whose limits are given by the Posillipo hill and the Camaldoli hill.

In this circuit there are numerous craters and small volcanic buildings, some of which present effusive or hydrothermal gaseous manifestations, as well as the cause of the phenomenon of bradyseism, very recognizable for its extent in the past in the so-called Macellum of Pozzuoli.

Important deposits of volcanic origin are visible throughout the area.

What happens in the event of an eruption in the Campi Flegrei? One model is based on the eruption of Agnano Monte Spina, which occurred about 4100 years ago.

This is a video created by the Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in 2001.

The impact should be devastating. In a few minutes, entire quadrants of the area west of Naples are destroyed. Currently there is no model that predicts what could actually happen on the Campi Flegrei in the coming months, nor in the event of an eruption.

It is not possible to know precisely the extent of the phenomenon, an event which is however preceded by very specific seismic swarms with movements and anomalies which have not yet been found.

Francesca Bianco, director of the Volcanoes Department at the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, in a report on the current bradyseismic phase at Campi Flegrei, explained: "At this moment there are no other monitoring parameters, among the many of those that we monitor 24 hours out of 24, which show significant anomalies so much so as to make us understand that something is changing in the volcanic dynamics.

At the moment it would seem that we are in the presence of an incremental variation of the bradyseismic crisis. We do not know the evolution: it is mostly phenomena linked to earthquakes and, as is well known, earthquakes cannot be predicted.

the intensification of the bradyseismic crisis currently does not yet have the dimensions of that of the 1980s.

Low frequency seismic events should be observed due to the oscillation of the magma in the crustal cracks, as well as significant changes in the geometry of the ground deformation, significant increases in the temperature of the rock volumes and other phenomena, none of which, at the moment, have been observed in the current crisis."