Is An Italian Super Volcano on the Verge of Erupting?

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Is An Italian Super Volcano on the Verge of Erupting?

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Scientists have recently warned that the Campi Flegrei volcano, which as been dormant for more than 500 years, may be on the verge of erupting.  It is situated in an area where almost half a million people live, and much of the region is completely unprepared.  This is ironic considering that it is not too far from Mt. Vesuvius, which caught Pompeii off-guard when it blew and destroyed the city. 

Building Pressure

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Scientists are getting better at recognizing patterns of seismic activity that normally lead to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.  However, they still struggle with predicting when these events will occur with any degree of accuracy.  Yet, looking at some of these tell-tale signs, as well as comparing the rate in which they occur with historic events, scientists are learning when to pay attention and start getting concerned.

This is exactly the case with what’s happening to the ground around Campi Flegrei.  It is cracking as pressure builds up to levels that are quickly reaching “critical mass”.  Another indication is that minor earthquakes and rumblings are starting to occur with alarming regularity.  Finally, some suggest that there are signs that the pool of magma beneath the region is shifting and rising to the surface. 

Far-Reaching Implications

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Whether or not all of this translates into an imminent eruption or one that is still years off is anyone’s guess.  However, the concern is that people in the region are not taking this threat seriously and preparing accordingly.  One thing is for certain:  Once Campi Flegrei erupts, it will create a disaster that will rank among some of the worst that the modern world has known.

Not only does it have the potential to destroy entire communities and isolate hundreds of thousands of people who live in mountainous terrain, but the ash cloud produced may wreak havoc for thousands of miles downwind.  Remember when that volcano erupted in Iceland a few years ago and caused air traffic in Europe to grind to a halt?  Remember when Mt. Pinatubo erupted in the Philippines and not only caused monumental damage in that country, but had an impact in the North America as well?  The ash cloud was so big and so dense that it actually diminished the intensity of the sun which interfered with crop production here.

We Have Our Own Problems

This is a good time to remember that much of the Western United States sits atop massive pools of lava, and we also have a series of large volcanoes that will erupt sooner or later.  Some researchers also believe that areas surrounding some of these seismic hot spots are also showing signs of increased activity as well.  If any of these eruptions were to occur, they could have a devastating impact across much of the country as winds carry ash and debris for hundreds, if not thousands of miles.

We don’t often think of preparing for volcanic eruptions since they are so infrequent and usually occur in distant parts of the world.  However, the impact that eruptions have on the lives of millions of people will be the same thing that we experience if and when that time comes. 

Taking it step further, if more than one super eruption were to occur at the same time, the long-term impact could be similar to what we can expect during a nuclear winter.  Dust particles can diminish the intensity of sunlight, and they can remain in the upper atmosphere for decades.  Consequently, if such a series of events were to occur, and they have in the past, then well, life as we know it comes to a screeching halt. 

Preparing for the Worst

Only you can decide whether or not preparing for such a contingency is worth the effort or not.  However, if you do, then you really need to think long-term sustainability.  However, it’s not the same kind of sustainability that we usually associate with homesteading.  Chances are that you won’t be able to grow a lot of crops, water sources may be contaminated and every other aspect of the environment as we know it will be altered to one degree or another. 

This type of scenario is what we consider to be apocalyptic, and if some scientists are right, we may not be that far from experiencing it first hand.