The earthquake, which measured 4.2 on the Richter scale, was felt as far away as Rome and prompted people to flee their homes.
It is the strongest earthquake to have occurred in the Campi Flegrei volcanic region, west of the city of Naples, which has a population of one million people, in 40 years. The Guardian reports.
Experts warned earlier this year that the area was in a dangerous state and that fear of a volcanic eruption was growing among area residents.
– Given that seismic activity has increased in recent months, we currently see no end in sight, says Carlo Doglioni, head of the Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV).
“We don’t know when or where it might happen.”
In the early 1980s, activity came to a halt after a long period of turmoil, a scenario that Doglioni had been hoping for. Worse would be an eruption like the last one in 1538, when a series of small hills and craters were created.
-We are monitoring the situation. In the event of an outbreak, we do not know when or where it might happen. Doglioni says that no matter how small it is, it may cause social unrest.
Campi Flegrei is a seven-mile-long caldera, a cauldron-shaped depression in the Earth’s crust, and is significantly more active than Vesuvius, also located near Naples, whose eruption in 79 destroyed the ancient cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. .
At least 360,000 people live in designated risk areas, which include parts of Naples.
Thousands of small earthquakes
Since the 1950s, thousands of small earthquakes have weakened the caldera, increasing the risk of an eruption, The Guardian writes.
A study conducted in June this year, conducted by INGV in collaboration with University College London, concluded that the volcano was heading toward a “tipping point” and in a “very dangerous state.”
Italian Civil Protection Minister Nello Mussomeci is scheduled to meet with officials in Naples in the coming days to ask them to accelerate the development of an emergency evacuation plan.
– We must be prepared for all possibilities, but we must avoid panic because at the moment, this is unjustified, says Nello Musumeci to the newspaper Il Mattino.
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