Aerial view of the caldera at Campi Flegrei

Campi Flegrei Naples shaken by tremors

By Region News Southern Italy

Hundreds of small tremors have shaken the densely populated Campi Flegrei, volcanic area west of the Italian city of Naples in recent weeks. As a result, the government is rapidly redrafting mass evacuation plans, even though experts don’t see an imminent risk of eruption.

The latest in a string of tremors was a 4.0-magnitude earthquake which hit Campi Flegrei (Phlegraean Fields) on Monday.

The region is home to the largest caldera in Europe, which last erupted in 1538. A caldera is a cauldron-shaped depression left behind by the eruption of a very large volcano.

A new explosion would put half a million inhabitants at risk.

Monday’s tremor followed a 4.2-magnitude quake recorded last week. This was the strongest in the area for 40 years, according to the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV).

A decree on earthquake risk in the Campi Flegrei volcanic area near Naples will soon be presented to parliament, Civil Protection Minister Nello Musumeci said on Tuesday.  

“The text of the decree law on the Phlegraean Fields is in the home stretch. With the department offices, we are in fact defining the last formal steps.

“I count on bringing it before the Council of Ministers within a few days,” said Musumeci.

“Today I met with the councillor for Civil Protection of the Campania Region, Mario Morcone, to share some of the objectives contained in the measure.

“We have also asked the National Commission for Major Risks, of the National Civil Protection System, to let us know the scientific community’s analysis of the updated situation of the area concerned from a seismic and brady-seismic point of view,’ the minister added.

Seismic activity could intensify

Experts at INGV have warned authorities and residents that tremors could intensify in the near future as seismic activity continues. However, they clarified the intensity of the tremors doesn’t imply an increased or imminent risk of a new eruption.

In a study published in June, a team of scientists at INGV raised the possibility that the caldera’s movements could rupture its crust. However, the study stressed there are currently no concrete reasons to anticipate a traditional volcanic eruption involving lava outflow.

“The seismic activity has been intensifying for months. We have observed over 3,000 tremors since the start of 2023,” Gianfilippo De Astis, senior researcher at INGV, told The Associated Press on Tuesday. “Only 65, however, were above a 2.0 magnitude.”

Leave a Reply