New research confirms it. Stress is building up underground in Campi Flegreia (Italy). 360,000 people live there now. But an eruption threatens all around, because of the supervolcano about to burst.
The volcano has been restless for more than 70 years. It had peaks of unrest lasting up to two years in the 1950s, 1970s and 1980s. Its last eruption was in 1538 after an interval of about 3,000 years. In the last 10 years another agitation phase has developed. This one has not been as remarkable as the previous ones.
“Our new study confirms that crust at Campi Flegrei is getting closer and closer to breakup.” Professor Christopher Kilburn of University College London stated. “However, this does not mean that the explosion is guaranteed,” he added.
“The rupture may open a crack through the crust. But the magma still has to be pushed through for an eruption to occur,” the scientist explained. These findings were published in Communications Earth & Environment. They were confirmed by Nicola Alessandro Pino of the Vesuvius Observatory. He stated that the results “show that parts of the volcano are weakening”.
“This means that the crust could break. Although the stress it is now undergoing is less than during the last activation, 40 years ago.” The study is “the first of its kind to predict rupture in an active volcano.” It represents a “step forward in our goal to improve eruption forecasting worldwide.” “We apply a model that is based on the physics of how rocks break up, in real time to any volcano. Our first use of the model was in 2017. Since then Campi Flegrei has behaved as we predicted,” concluded the study’s author.
Researchers at the Vesuvius Observatory wish to drill a 3.5 km borehole in the Campi Flegrei caldera to make scientific observations of the volcano’s conditions to better predict its future activity.
The supervolcano about to explode is a danger. However, it is not yet known exactly when it will erupt. Nevertheless, they believe that the local authorities should take this major risk very seriously.