When Mount Vesuvius erupted and buried the Italian city of Pompeii in ash, killing 2,000 people, it was regarded as one of the most catastrophic natural disasters and is still studied heavily today.
By comparison, a nearby supervolcano called Campi Flegrei, which means “burning fields,” would put the lives of 500,000 Italians at risk and cause damage that would extend to the surrounding nations.
Campi Flegrei has been around for many years and has notable eruptions that occurred 39,000 and 12,000 years ago.
The first eruption is thought to have contributed to the extinction of the Neanderthals; though this is heavily debated, what’s indisputable is that it caused heinous weather changes, toxic levels of sulfur in the air which caused dark red sunsets for a year, and tons acid rain.
In the most recent eruption, the supervolcano erupted for 8 days straight and formed a new mountain, aptly named Monte Nuovo. Scientists have been detecting an increase in low-level activity since 2005, which they have called an “uplift.”
The recent activity prompted the Italian government to raise the threat level from green to yellow, which means that the volcano is now monitored 24/7 to detect any increases in the likelihood that it could erupt. A recent study found that the activity has increased substantially, which spurred the government into action.
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