Shown the caldera at Campi Flegrei which, due to its seismic movements, is now the focus on an evcuation plan.

Meloni to chair ministerial meeting on Campi Flegrei

By Region News Southern Italy

Premier Giorgia Meloni will chair an inter-ministerial meeting today to address the recent surge in seismic activity that began late Monday in the Campi Flegrei volcanic caldera near Naples.

Civil Protection Minister Nello Musumeci announced the meeting on Tuesday. Since Monday evening, the area has experienced approximately 160 earthquakes, including a 4.4 magnitude quake, the strongest in over 40 years, causing alarm among residents. Many locals spent the night outdoors due to the tremors.

As a precaution, schools in Pozzuoli and nearby towns were closed on Tuesday. Additionally, 39 families have been evacuated from their homes. Furthermore, inmates from the local women’s prison are being temporarily relocated to other jails in Campania.

The Campi Flegrei area is experiencing bradyseism, or ground uplift. This seismic activity has raised concerns about potential damage to people and property.

Musumeci stated that Wednesday’s meeting will discuss “possible further interventions by the government” as well as “those already being implemented.”

He added, “I am in constant contact with Premier Giorgia Meloni, who has been monitoring the situation since last night.”

If you’re caught in an earthquake, this website advises on what to do. It is available in English and Italian.

What is bradyseism?

Bradyseism refers to the gradual uplift (positive bradyseism) or subsidence (negative bradyseism) of a section of the Earth’s surface, caused by the filling or emptying of an underground magma chamber or hydrothermal activity, especially in volcanic calderas.

This process can continue for millennia between eruption. Each uplift event is typically accompanied by thousands of small to moderate earthquakes. The term comes from the ancient Greek words βραδύς (bradús), meaning “slow,” and σεισμός (seismós), meaning “movement.” Arturo Issel coined the term in 1883.

Bradyseism in the Campi Flegrei

The Campi Flegrei area is particularly noted for its bradyseismic activity, characterised by periods of uplift and subsidence. The inflation and deflation of this caldera are well documented due to its coastal location. Adding to the issue is the region’s long history of human habitation and construction.

One notable example is the Roman Macellum of Pozzuoli, where three marble columns display bands of boreholes made by marine Lithophaga molluscs, known as Gastrochaenolites. These boreholes extend up to 7 meters along the columns, indicating that bradyseismic activity had lowered the land to this depth beneath the sea before raising it again.

In more recent times, between 1968 and 1972, the Campi Flegrei area experienced positive bradyseism, rising by 1.7 meters. Another uplift of 1.8 meters occurred between 1982 and 1984, accompanied by a shallow earthquake swarm at a depth of 4 kilometres. This seismic activity led to the evacuation of 30,000 people due to the perceived risk of an imminent eruption.

The most recent earthquake of magnitude (Monday 20th May) was of an even shallower depth at just 3 kilometres. Shallow quakes tend to be more damaging than deeper quakes as the seismic waves do not have as far to travel before losing energy.

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