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Dec 27, 2016 06:13 AM EST

Supervolcano Near Naples Appears To Be Nearing Eruption

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A supervolcano near Naples seems to be nearing its critical pressure point. This is the same volcano that caused the largest eruption in the history of Europe.

The Guardian reported that Italian and French scientists found that the Campi Flegrei volcano near the Italian city of Naples has shown signs of reawakening. It may also be nearing a critical pressure point.

For the first time, researchers were able to identify a threshold over which climbing magma under the Earth may trigger the release of fluids and gases at an extremely increased rate. Giovanni Chiodini, a researcher at Italy's National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Bologna, admitted that this phenomenon would cause the injection of ultra-hot steam into rocks around the area.

When exposed to high temperature, it is possible that hydrothermal rocks will lose their mechanical resistance. It would result to "an acceleration towards critical conditions," Chiodini said.  It may not be possible to predict the exact time or date when the volcano would erupt. However, it would greatly affect about 500,000 people living inside and near the caldera.

In a published report on the journal "Nature Communications," the scientists revealed that the caldera, which is a bowl-like depression created after the volcano blew its top off, is one of "the most densely inhabited areas in the world." It is also where increasing deformation and heating are being observed.

It was noted that, since the 1950s, the Campi Flegrei caldera (CFc) has shown signs of potential reawaking. This is because of several episodes of ground uplift, shallow seismicity as well as a visible increase in hydrothermal degassing.

The Washington Post added that the caldera was created through an eruption which is described as being "larger than anything else in the past 200,000 years of European history." It was suggested that this prehistoric outburst caused a "volcanic winter" which wiped out the Neanderthals. Today, it was said that the volcano is becoming restless.

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