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'Vesuvius-Style' Supervolcano Eruption Could Destroy Naples

The volcanic area of Campi Flegrei near Naples is showing "signs of unrest", prompting fears it could soon erupt.

Campi Flegrei -- an almost 13 kilometre wide volcanic crater -- is home to more than 1.5 million people, with homes built right up to the crater's edge.

It is one of the few active supervolcanoes in the world, meaning it can produce an eruption at the highest level measured by the Volcanic Explosivity Index.

Campi Felgrei in the centre of the image, with Naples on the left. Image: Getty Images

The Campi Flegrei  is "active and will erupt again", according to volcano hazard expert Dr Christopher Kilburn.

“There is now concern that the volcano might be getting ready for another eruption in the foreseeable future," Kilburn, a professor at the University College London, told Sunday Express.

“But that type of eruption is of the size of possibly a Vesuvian-style or even much smaller.

“So we are not talking about another giant eruption that might produce another caldera.”

Researchers make monthly measurements near the Bocca Grande in Campi Flegrei. Image: Getty Images

A caldera is a volcano that has collapsed in on itself during a large-scale eruption.

“The last major collapse occurred 15,500 years ago. Since then there have been lots of small eruptions within the caldera which is populated by about 350,000 people," said Kilburn.

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Image: Google Maps

It has been nearly 400 years since the last volcanic eruption, and this is the first time since then that there have been signs of unrest below the surface, Kilburn said.

"The ground has at the centre of the caldera, the ground has been uplifted overall by just under four metres in the last 60 years or so," he said.

"So, about two metres in two years with long intervals and nothing in between.”

Image: Getty Images

Kilburn, who has studied the area extensively at the Vesuvius Observatory in Naples, said locals should not worry as long as they were "aware" the volcano is active.

“It is important to be reassured that plans are being made and not to be worried every day that something might happen because that is actually not the case," he said.

Mount Vesuvius is about 30 kilometres to the east of Campi Flegrei on the other side of Naples.