More than 2,000 years after the massive event that covered Pompeii with hot lava, another volcanic eruption threatens the city of Rome. The Colli Albani Volcanic District seems to be waking up again.
The volcanoes are placed just 20 miles outside the city. Scientists that monitor the area registered steam vents, the rise in ground levels and earthquakes, all signs that the volcano is not extinct.
The activity started almost 20 years ago. The Colli Albani hills began to rise, which is explained by magma accumulating under the surface.
In 1991, a series of earthquakes affected the area and lasted for four years.
More recently, in 2013 a volcanic vent opened near Rome’s airport. The fumarole appeared near a road leading to Italy’s capital. The whole ejects mud, water, and hot steam.
The researchers studied the rocks around the volcano’s base and discovered that the volcano has a cyclic activity. Each eruption appears around 31,000 years after the precedent one.
As the last eruption took place 36,000 years ago, it seems that the volcano had exceeded its due time. However, the researchers calculated that another explosion would not happen in the next 1,000 years.
The scientists issued forecasts referring to the volcano’s activity. While a major outbreak is not to be expected in the near future, several smaller eruptions might occur in the meantime. These events are not thought to be explosive.
The researchers do not seem to be very worried over the matter. Even if the volcano erupts again, they say there will be plenty of signs beforehand. Moreover, Rome does not appear to be in danger.
Other studies have shown that an eruption would not affect the city. However, the hot ash and the lava have extremely high speeds that would make it tough to be stopped, and the authorities will have a hard time trying to stop them or to intervene.
Being closer to the volcano, the city’s suburbs could be devastated by the event. The authors of the study stated they hope the Colli Albani will be more closely monitored, to make sure that the city will be prepared to react accordingly to any future volcanic activity.
The geologists explain that the Colli Albani volcanoes are stopped from erupting by two pieces of land that press together over the magma bubble, preventing it from reaching the surface.
In the last 2,000 years, the two layers started to move away from one another, increasing the chance of a future eruption.
Computer simulations showed that the area rose to 164 feet in the last 200,000 years. The land continues to grow in altitude at a rate of 0.8 inches every year, as the magma is accumulating underground.
Image Source: Wikipedia