Naples trembles underground | About 150 earthquakes shook the city in southern Italy, and a catastrophe is feared

The Naples area was shaken on Monday night by about 150 earthquakes, one of which was the strongest in 40 years. This was due to the geological phenomenon of “paradise” that has been distorting its volcanic soil for years and forced the development of an evacuation plan and raising the level of awareness among the population.

It is located south of the Gulf of Naples at the foot of the great volcano Vesuvius, which has been dormant since 1944. To the northwest of the city of Maradonian are the “Flegrain Fields”, a huge volcanic caldera with about twenty craters, some of which are very active and underground. Mediterranean waters. It is an area of ​​high seismic risk with a large concentration of residents, which came to build on the slopes of the volcano. One million people live in Naples and in Campos – with the Pozzuoli center – another half a million.

The soil grows

Earthquakes have occurred recently: the “gray” gradually deforms the Earth, expanding or contracting, depending on the magma or gas that builds up in the Earth's interior, unleashing earthquakes. This caused the Roman city of Bias, near Pozzuoli, to end up under the sea centuries ago, when the land sank. Currently, the bradysma has the opposite trend: it is in an ascending phase and the soil level is growing by 2 cm per month.

The National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV) places the beginning of this “crisis” in 2005. But the last earthquake was the strongest in 40 years, with a magnitude of 4.4 and at a shallow depth: 2.6 kilometers below the Solvatara crater. The tremors caused panic and kept thousands of people awake during the night, and although they did not cause any major disturbances, they caused some buildings to crack, leading to the evacuation of thirteen of them and part of the prison.

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No eruption expected

The local INGV observatory rates Phlegraean field activity at level yellow – the third most dangerous on a four-point scale – and an evacuation plan has been in place since 2019, although some mayors and experts are calling for it to be improved and updated.

Last October, after another strong earthquake, The Italian government of Giorgia Meloni has approved a decree that includes an evacuation plan and disburses 52.2 million euros to assess risks in the most affected areas and create emergency infrastructure. The INGV calls for calm: it does not expect an eruption in the “phlegray fields” because there is no increase in magma, and recalls that the crisis between 1982 and 1984 was even worse, with the ground rising by 9 centimeters per month.

In the event of a possible eruption, the Civil Protection Plan gives priority, in the preventive warning phase, to the evacuation of about 500,000 people living in the “red zone”, in “Campos”, and whose lives would be in serious danger. Because of the explosion. In recent months, the regional government of Campania has offered training courses for public officials and in schools to explain the protocols to be implemented in the event of a disaster. Civil protection operations are undergoing training, as are some hospitals. A comic story entitled “L'Attimodecisive” (The Decisive Moment) was distributed to young people.

Freddie Dawson

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