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Italy. Tremors in the region of “Europe’s most dangerous supervolcano”

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An earthquake with a magnitude of 3.8 was recorded on Thursday evening in the Champs Phlegraean area in Italy. Tremors were also felt in Naples. Seismic activity in this part of Europe is monitored particularly closely – this area lies above “the most dangerous supervolcano in Europe”.

The Italian Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV) reported that an earthquake struck the Champs-Plegraean region near Naples around 7.45 p.m. on Thursday. The phenomenon had a magnitude of 3.8 and was the strongest quake recorded in the area in 10 years.

“There’s an earthquake in the studio”

The shock was felt across most of Naples, Italian news agency ANSA reported. It did not cause any damage, but in some districts people took to the streets in fear. The quake also interrupted a live local television program. “There is an earthquake in the studio right now (…) we are still live, we are calm,” said the journalist running the program.

Although the tremor was relatively small, the area remains under the constant observation of seismologists – the Phlegraean Fields is a caldera (depression) of a supervolcano with a diameter of about 15 kilometers. There are 24 craters and volcanic cones in their area. The city of Pozzuoli, with a population of 80,000, is also located there. The last eruption of the volcano was recorded in 1538, and ground uplift has been observed there since 2012.

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“So far, there are no signs of abrupt changes compared to the trend seen over the last 10 years,” Giovanni Macedonio of INGV told ANSA. He reminded, however, that the region has a “yellow alert”, requiring observation of the area 24 hours a day.

Dangerous seismic situation

The seismic situation in the Phlegraean Fields was unsettled in 1983-1984, when the ground level rose very quickly. In two years, 16,000 earthquakes with a magnitude not exceeding 3 were recorded. Then the earth began to subside, and since 2012 it has been rising again, although not as fast as in the 1980s.

“In recent weeks we have been seeing an uplift of about 1.5 centimeters per month and the frequency of earthquakes is increasing,” Macedonio added. According to him, studies will be carried out in the coming months to determine whether the process of rising ground level is accelerating.

Solfatara Crater, part of the Phlegrean FieldsShutterstock – illustration photo

According to some scientists, the explosion of the Phlegraean Fields almost 40,000 years ago could have contributed to the extinction of the Neanderthals. The structure is also known as “Europe’s most dangerous supervolcano”. Currently, around 500,000 people live in the area defined by the Italian Civil Defense as the red zone, i.e. the area of ​​greatest risk. Another 800,000 people live in the yellow zone.

PAP, Wanted in Rome, ANSA

Main photo source: Shutterstock – illustration photo

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