Dec 6, 2023
The Millennia-Old History of the Phlegraean Fields
The Campi Flegrei, whose name translates to "burning fields" in Latin, form an extensive volcanic complex situated to the west of Naples, in Campania. This volcanic region has been inhabited and utilized by humans for millennia, dating back to ancient Roman times. The Romans were not only aware of it but also actively harnessed its resources, particularly the hydrothermal springs.
This area was renowned for its hot thermal springs, fed by vapors rising from underground. Roman baths and spas in the Phlegraean Fields were gathering places for the Roman elite, seeking relief and relaxation in these healing waters.
The Bradisismic Crisis of 2023
In recent years, the Campi Flegrei have attracted global attention due to a series of seismic events associated with the bradismic phenomenon and growing concerns about a potential eruption. However, let's take a closer look at this phenomenon.
In the world, besides the Campi Flegrei, only two other locations are affected by this phenomenon: the Long Valley in California and Rabaul in New Guinea. Bradisism is characterized by the rising and falling of the land due to underground volcanic activity, and the Campi Flegrei are one of the most famous regions in the world where this occurs. Over their geological history, the Campi Flegrei have experienced cycles of bradisism, which can last several years or decades, reminiscent of the crisis in the 1980s. During a subsidence cycle, the land may "collapse" or sink, while during an uplift cycle, the land gradually rises. Bradisism can be associated with an increase in seismic activity, with earthquakes occurring during uplift or subsidence cycles, resulting from ground deformation. However, not every bradism cycle leads to a volcanic eruption. The Campi Flegrei have experienced eruptions in the past, the most recent being in 1538 with the birth of Monte Nuovo, but, as mentioned, not every bradismic cycle necessarily results in an eruption.
The bradismic crisis of 2023 has raised concerns, but experts are quick to reassure the public, stating, "Currently, the probability of a volcanic eruption is relatively low because there is no evidence of magma rising to the surface. Additionally, the volume of crustal uplift at the moment is much smaller than 1 km3, constraining the size of fluids in the uplift feeding area. Seismic, geochemical data, ground deformation, surface and wellhead thermal variations, and gravity changes do not provide any indications, at this time, that magma is ascending to the surface" (source: INGV).
Complete article here:
The INGV plays a crucial role in monitoring volcanic and bradismic activity in the Campi Flegrei. Through a network of seismic sensors, GPS devices, and geodetic instruments, scientists continuously monitor ground variations and seismic activity in the region. This ongoing monitoring allows for the collection of vital data to better understand the behavior of the Campi Flegrei and anticipate potential risks.
The Campi Flegrei, with their natural beauty and rich history, continue to inspire wonder and admiration. The bradismic crisis of 2023 may be concerning, but it's essential to remember that this region has been marked by volcanic and bradismic activity for thousands of years.
We suggest you to watch this informative documentary by the Geopop team in collaboration with INGV and to rely only on reputable sources for information: