A woman takes a look at a steaming fumarola at the Solfatara crater bed in Italy Campi Flegrei last April. (AP Photo/Frances D’emilio)
An Italian supervolcano could be in the direction of an eruption, and that is bad news for the 500,000 people who live in and around the Washington Post reports.
Campi Flegrei is a 7.5 mile-wide caldera, the collapsed top of an old volcano. The eruption that formed the 39,000 years ago was the largest in Europe for 200,000 years and may have been responsible for the killing of the Neanderthals.
Since then it has only had two major eruptions: 35,000 years ago and 12,000 years ago, according to Science Alert. But a “small” eruption in 1538 was still a lot of serious, let it go, there is enough material for a new mountain.
An Italian philosopher of the time described eruption this way: “In the second hour of the night, this mountain, the earth opened like a mouth, with a great roaring, vomiting, a lot of fire and pumice and stones.” Now activity is picking up on the Campi Flegrei. Uplift started in 2005, and a warning for the volcano was raised in 2012, for which seismic monitoring, AFP reports.
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Recent years have seen a rise in small seismic activity and the ground deformation. On Tuesday, researchers published a study in Nature indicating that the caldera is nearly a “critical degassing pressure” that “can drive volcanic unrest in the direction of a critical condition.” It is still impossible to say when another eruption may occur, but the researchers hope to encourage more research and monitoring in the Campi Flegrei for the interest of the residents in the vicinity of Naples, for whom an eruption “would be very dangerous.” (Meanwhile, the largest volcano on Earth can be awakened.)
This article originally appeared on Newser: Scientists are Nervous About the Italian Supervolcano