Scientists are warning that a super-volcano in a densely-populated area of Italy may be approaching a “critical state.”
The volcano, named Campi Flegrei, is one of the largest in the world.
According to a report published in the journal Nature Communications, Campi Flegrei is located “in the metropolitan area of Naples, one of the most densely inhabited areas in the world, and where accelerating deformation and heating are currently being observed.”
The report goes on to state that those effects may lead to a sudden release of gasses, which – in turn – could trigger a large eruption in the near future.
National Geographic reports that Italian officials have subsequently raised the volcano’s threat level to ‘yellow’ status, which signals a need for close monitoring.
This is potentially unnerving not only for the 500,000 people that live around Campi Flegrei but the entire planet.
National Geographic states that a Campi Flegrei eruption 200,000 years ago spewed so much ash that it blocked the sun around the planet and triggered a volcanic winter.
The volcano may have also erupted 40,000 years ago, contributing to the extinction of the Neanderthals.
Want to learn more about Campi Flegrei – and what scientists are doing to monitor it and predict a future eruption? Check out the video below.