Italian supervolcano may be stirring from its long sleep to restart the deadly cycle

Campi Flegrei last erupted in 1538


The Italian super volcano, Campi Flegrei last erupted almost 500-years-ago, but scientists believe that the home of Roman god of Fire, Vulcan is just getting ready to show its massive power.

The researchers have clarified that about 1.5 million residents of the Naples region, where the large volcanic area, the Phlegraean Fields is situated, doesn't have to worry about any irruption right now but, the volcanologists have recently found that the ancient supervolcano is may have embarked upon a new magma cycle that may cause a huge devastation, if it erupts.

The findings were published in the journal Science Advances. In the study the team of researches said 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 lead of this study volcanologist Francesca Forni from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and his team of researchers have examined 23 eruptions from the Italian volcano's chequered history.

Even though the last eruption, that took place in 1538 and continued for eight days, was not that powerful compared to two more events, Campanian Ignimbrite eruption, which occurred almost 39,000 years ago and then Neapolitan Yellow Tuff (NYT) eruption. These massive eruptions not only left large calderas behind but also spread the ash over an area of almost 3.7 million square kilometres.

When the research team analysed the chemicals of the rocks from these two massive eruptions and studies 21 minor eruptions, they found that the magma conditions under this massive Italian volcano could be re-entering a new phase of pressure that could trigger an eruption.

As per the author of the study, the data they gather have revealed 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," he added.

No one knows for sure that when the Campi Flegrei will erupt, but the Naples residents should know about the recent findings, to avoid any kind of panic or unexpected events.

But, recently government scientists have classified 18 US volcanos as a "very high threat." The list includes Hawaii's Kilauea, which has been erupting this year, Mount St. Helens, Mount Rainier in Washington, Alaska's Redoubt Volcano and California's Mount Shasta.

Threat ranking chart for US volcanoes.
Threat ranking chart for US volcanoes. USGS