The Sleeping Volcano That Could Wipe Out Europe

Andrei Tapalaga
The Monte Nuovo VolcanoMauro Antonio Di Vito

In Ancient times volcano eruptions were quite frequent around the world and a natural catastrophe that people sort of adapted to. Most volcano eruptions were on a smaller scale, not capable of doing much damage. Some destroyed whole cities and only a few even managed to wipe out whole civilizations. As time went by, volcano eruptions became less frequent until the 19th century.

The south part of Italy had always been a more predominantly active volcanic zone for centuries. Even in Ancient times, volcanos such as Pompei and Herculaneum have erupted more than a dozen times and sometimes even only a couple of decades apart from each eruption.

Burned Lands

Volcanos are classified based on their eruptive potential, the power of destruction which is calculated on the size, placement, and volcanic activity. Monte Nuovo Volcano is located on the south side of Italy and it is quite an impressive sight as wildlife spread over the sleeping volcano. The last time this volcano was active was in 1538 when it last erupted.

The history behind this volcano is very interesting. The location of the volcano is approximately 10 kilometers from Napoli in a place called Campi Flegrei which translates to burned lands. This is a name given from ancient mythology, as this is where Zeus with his brother and sister defeated the titans.
Monte Nuovo Volcano in ItalyWikimedia Commos

Don’t let the present view of the volcano fool you, the volcano itself is mostly underwater, spamming over 100 squared kilometers with 24 craters. The volcano itself has a huge ability to wipe out the whole of Europe and maybe even more. Something to prove the strength of this volcano is an event that took place about 40,000 years ago when an eruption took place. After the eruption, a cloud of smoke covered a large portion of Europe, around 1 million square kilometers.

It is said that this volcanic eruption played a huge role in the extinction of the Neatherthals as this eruption killed a large portion of the animals around southern Europe. Another 15,000 years ago another eruption took place which was on a much smaller scale, and the most recent one is the one from 1538 which also crafted the cone present today. This means that this volcano has not seen any activity in the last 600 years.

An increase in volcanic activity

It is not a very big concern based on the history of the volcano itself, but what is more, the concern is the rise of volcanic activity around the world since the 19th century. Since the start of the early 19th century, more and more volcanic eruptions have started to occur, and since the number keeps increasing at a rate that makes volcanologists quite worried as this may provoke super volcanos such as the one in this article to erupt with full power.
Campi Flegrei near Naples, ItalyFlickr

Based on the description of the volcano it is very difficult for volcanologists to discover where exactly the volcano could erupt and if it will erupt. Every volcano is quite different and therefore every volcano requires a different method of analyzing the volcanic activity and probability of an eruption.

Interestingly enough, some experts say that the explosion itself would not be that catastrophic, but rather the seismic power that would displace a large volume of water which could provoke multiple tsunamis. At the same time, they say that the next eruption will be the most powerful our earth has seen due to changes within the climate, meaning that most of Europe will be wiped out by the power of the eruption.

You may ask yourself how exactly will the rest of Europe be affected. Well just like it was 40,000 years ago. The black smoke ash produced by the eruption will engulf Europe for years, and this smoke will affect all lives, slowly killing them due to its toxicity and due to removing the access to natural vitamin D (taken from the sun), vital to any human’s well being. Food sources would be destroyed, crops would not grow and stock life would perish.

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