Earthquake Strikes Italy’s Volcanic Campi Flegrei Region Near Naples

Earthquake Rocks Italy’s Campi Flegrei Region, Near Naples

In a recent event, a 4.0-magnitude earthquake struck Italy’s Campi Flegrei region, located near Naples.

This seismic activity follows warnings from leading volcanologists about the necessity of evacuation plans for the area.

Fortunately, the earthquake, which occurred shortly after 10 pm on Monday night, did not result in any damage or injuries, although it did incite panic among residents.

Epicenter and Geological Context

The earthquake’s epicenter was situated at a depth of nearly two miles between Naples and Pozzuoli, as confirmed by Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology.

The Campi Flegrei region is characterized by a constellation of ancient volcanic craters situated across the bay of Naples, adjacent to Pompeii, where the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius claimed thousands of lives in 79 AD.

Campi Flegrei, however, is a significantly larger volcano than Vesuvius and has the potential to cause mass casualties, with approximately half a million people residing in its immediate vicinity.

Recent Seismic Activity and Volcanic Concerns

Just days before this earthquake, a 4.2-magnitude quake was recorded in the area, marking the most powerful seismic event in the region in 40 years.

While experts emphasize that there is currently no immediate risk of a volcanic eruption, a prominent volcanologist warned last week about the necessity of preparations for a potential mass evacuation.

Warnings from Giuseppe De Natale

Giuseppe De Natale, the former head of the Vesuvius observatory at the National Institute for Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV), drew attention to the fact that during a similar burst of earthquakes in the 1980s, around 40,000 individuals were temporarily evacuated from the nearby town of Pozzuoli.

Today, Pozzuoli’s population has grown to over 80,000 residents. De Natale highlighted that while the immediate risk is primarily seismic, the possibility of an eruption must also be considered.

Potential Steam-Blast Eruption

If an eruption were to occur, it would likely be a steam-blast eruption, initially characterized as relatively weak and without the injection of new magma.

De Natale has proposed the need for possible evacuations and has communicated this recommendation to the government, with officials indicating that it is currently under review.

Campi Flegrei’s Geological History

The Campi Flegrei caldera boasts a diameter of approximately 12-15 kilometers (7.5-9.3 miles) and last experienced a significant eruption in 1538.

Notably, one of its most substantial eruptions transpired around 39,000 years ago, potentially contributing to the extinction of Neanderthal man, a theory held by researchers.

Evidence of magma from this ancient eruption has been discovered in Greenland, situated some 4,500 kilometers away.

Recent Seismic Activity and Magma Intrusion

Volcanologists have been monitoring thousands of small tremors in the Campi Flegrei region since 2019, and these tremors have intensified throughout this year.

These seismic events may be linked to the intrusion of magma into the subsurface of the volcano, occurring at a depth of approximately five to six kilometers.

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