Few cities on the planet can even start to compete with Naples in being ominously placed from a geological standpoint. The city has not only a tremendous historical background; it is also totally surrounded with active super volcanoes.
A few years ago I had the pleasure of having dinner in a villa on the slopes of Monte Vesuvius together with Italy’s car tycoon numero uno. After a tasty dinner together with nice wines we were sitting looking out at the ocean drinking a ridiculously old grappa (grappa tastes like a rotting hamster-cage smells) and I just had to ask if he never where worried about having a villa on one of the worlds more famous volcanoes. The answer was rather Italian; He turned around, raised all five fingers into the air in the general direction of Vesuvius and uttered the Italian immortal phrase “va’fan’culo”. I interpreted it as “who cares”. Actually it is a bit stronger than that in translation.
But in a way it summed up the Neapolitan view on their 3 troublesome super volcanoes. To hell with them. Basically this opinion explains why the citizens even do their best to impede scientific work on their volcanoes. In 2010 the mayor of Naples stopped drilling into Campi Flegrei to increase the monitoring of the volcano.
Naples has more than 4 million inhabitants in the greater Naples urban area; at least 1 million of them are directly threatened by the 3 giants under them. In theory there is a plan to evacuate the citizens, but 3 factors would most likely hamper any evacuation.
The first one is of course the issue with the “va’fan’culo” attitude against their volcanoes. Most likely many would not heed an evacuation order in time. The second issue showed itself during the Campi Flegrei inflation periods of 1970 and 1984 to 1985. Back then inflation pushed Pozzuoli up more than 3.3 meters, and still only an area of 10 city blocks was evacuated. This points to it being likely that political pressure would impede any scientific call for evacuation before it was too late. The third reason is quite simply the poor state of the road network in and out of Naples. There is just no way to evacuate 1 million people in the stipulated 3 days. An amount of time that could well be quite less after the usual Italian political infighting.
This was the first part out of a 4 piece special. In the next 3 I will go through all 3 super-volcanoes in turn. Since all 3 of them are so different, and pose so different types of risks they deserve at least one post each.
Now you are most likely going, where did he find a third super volcano? Well, that will become clear in the next post.