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The Campi Flegrei are the largest active urbanized caldera in the heart of the European continent. Since 2005 it has been affected by the bradyseismic phenomenon which causes ground lifting, earthquakes and fumarolic emissions.
The caldera is monitored by a continuous multi-parameter monitoring system. All the data provided by this system, at the moment, do not show evidence of the imminence of a volcanic eruption, much less of large proportions (Surveillance bulletins of Campania volcanoes).
Volcanic risk mitigation actions are based on sharing correct information on the state of the volcano. Sharing can take place in many forms, such as the publication of data and bulletins on institutional websites, school meetings, meetings with the population exposed to risk, seminars, conferences, training courses for journalists and so on. The broad spectrum of these activities is continuously practiced by our Institute (we remember the last meeting with the Phlegraean population last April 11th).
In the face of this commitment, what can be observed in some press articles relaunching a Swiss TV documentary on the catastrophic effects of a future eruption at the Campi Flegrei is therefore dissonant. This is information that is not based on data, and which completely ignores all the important scientific and planning activities that have seen, and still see, scientists and Civil Protection working side by side to manage the volcanic hazard and the related consequences to the best of their knowledge. risk of one of the most anthropized areas in the world.
Developing a story that brings together what happened in the two most devastating eruptions that devastated the Campi Flegrei (Ignimbrite Campana, which occurred about 40.000 years ago, and Neapolitan yellow tuff, which occurred about 15.000 years ago) with what is happening in this bradyseismic phase is only an exercise in showing off great special effects for those who make documentaries, and an erasure of years and years of sharing data and information by those who write about it, emphasizing alarmism. All this makes no scientific sense and, above all, it is harmful information that exploits sensationalism and gathers the attention of the viewer-reader by terrifying him.
The eruptive history and current data recorded at the Campi Flegrei tell a different story.
None of the 70 eruptions that have occurred in the area in the last 15.000 years, after the caldera collapse of the Neapolitan Yellow Tuff, comes even remotely close to the scenario represented in the documentary and published in some newspapers, ignoring information that is well known and continuously available on our site.
And, speaking of scenarios, our scientific community has studied them in detail, as evidenced by the countless products created on these topics and freely available for consultation.
These scenarios are the basis of emergency planning and are based on numerous real data that are continuously updated.
The danger of the Campi Flegrei (like that of all active volcanoes) is based on the study of the eruptive history, on the experimental data that is gradually acquired, on the monitoring data (increasingly implemented) and on the simulations that provide very precious data on the processes that have occurred in the past that we would otherwise have no knowledge of.
Since 2012, hazard studies have been used to define the most probable eruptive occurrence scenarios in the area. And even if the scenario with the highest probability of occurrence is that of a small eruption (as happened for the Monte Nuovo eruption of 1538), as a reference scenario for the evaluation of the areas potentially exposed to different phenomena during a future eruption , the one relating to the most intense phase of a medium-scale eruption (such as the one that occurred at Astroni 4000 years ago) was chosen. On this scenario, emergency planning was defined and the areas exposed to different types of dangers were identified (pyroclastic flows for the red zone, ash fall for the yellow zone).
One of the characteristics of the Phlegraean caldera, and of calderas in general, is the difficulty of establishing a priori the area in which an eruptive vent will open and this could lead to greater uncertainty in the identification of areas potentially exposed to dangerous phenomena. To overcome this problem, the areas subject to impact by pyroclastic flows and ash fall were identified by considering all the possible positions of a new eruptive vent.
The probability that the next eruption will be of the Campanian Ignimbrite/Neapolitan Yellow Tuff type is very low. Furthermore, for these very large-scale eruptions to occur, an enormous amount of magma must enter the system. This would generate macroscopic signals that would not escape either our monitoring system or those living in the area. Suffice it to say that before the last period of activity, in which 27 explosive eruptions occurred with a total volume of magma emitted of less than 3 cubic km, the area between Monte Nuovo and Pietra rose by approximately 50 m .
During the two most devastating eruptions (Ignimbrite Campana and Neapolitan Yellow Tuff), tens to hundreds of cubic km of magma were erupted in a single event.
How could these phenomena occur without important and unnoticed precursors?
We understand that sensationalism and alarmism attract attention and clicks on the web. But we are not there, as demonstrated by the very different statements made by our staff during the documentary.
Information provided by the media on topics so relevant to people's daily lives must be contextualized and supported by experimental data and related uncertainties. Information, among other things, fully accessible on our web pages.
The rest are opinions, and even if spoken by esteemed foreign colleagues, they remain opinions. The data, at the moment, say otherwise.
The monitoring system, the surveillance system and emergency planning are not built on opinions.

Carlo Doglioni (President of INGV)

Francesca Bianco (Director of the INGV Volcanoes Department)

Mauro A. Di Vito (Director of the INGV Vesuvian Observatory)