Today: Thu 18 Jan 2018

Is Italy's SUPERVOLCANO about to blow?

While the Campi Flegrei volcano hasn't erupted since 1538, experts have warned that it could be building up to another devastating eruption.

By studying patterns of unrest over the last 500 years, the researchers have predicted that we are reaching a 'critical stage' where further unrest will lead to an eruption.

They hope their findings will urge local authorities to prepare for an eruption, which they say would affect the 360,000 people living across the caldera and Naples' population of nearly one million.

Unrest since the 1950s has been causing a build-up of energy in the crust and making the volcano more vulnerable to eruption. Until now, scientists had thought that the energy needed to stretch the crust was lost after each period of unrest. The episodes of unrest are caused by the movement of magma around three kilometres below the volcano. An eruption becomes more likely when the ground has been stretched to its breaking point. This is because the molten rock can escape to the surface when the ground splits apart.

But it is difficult to pinpoint when an eruption will occur, because even if the ground breaks, it is possible for the magma to stall before reaching the surface.

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