While the metaphorical ‘earthquake’ of a systemic banking crisis is coming to a head, it appears Italy may have a far more existential problem on its hands. As The Independent reports, one of the world’s most dangerous supervolcanoes is showing signs of reawakening under the Italian city of Naples.
The Campi Flegrei may be nearing a critical pressure point necessary to drive an eruption for the first time in 500 years, according to scientists.
Researchers say the volcano is moving towards a threshold beyond which rising magma could spark the release of fluids and gases at 10 times the normal rate.
This surge would cause an injection of extremely hot steam into surrounding rocks, Giovanni Chiodini, lead author of the study, told AFP.
This could ultimately trigger a “very dangerous” eruption for the three million people living in the area.
Since 2005, the Campi Flegrei has been undergoing “uplift”, which is the accumulation of magma under the surface of a volcano.
In response, Italian authorities raised the threat level from green to yellow in 2012, signalling the need for the supervolcano to be actively monitored.
Four years ago, scientists warned any eruption could kill millions living near or on top of the volcano.
“These areas can give rise to the only eruptions that can have global catastrophic effects comparable to major meteorite impacts,” said Giuseppe De Natale, head of a project to monitor the volcano’s activity.
Nearby Mount Vesuvius, whose massive eruption buried Roman settlements including Pompeii in AD79, is also considered an active volcano.
This post originally appeared on Zero Hedge