Experts say when Vesuvius might erupt next

(ORDO NEWS) — During its eruptions, Mount Vesuvius caused serious damage to nearby areas and claimed many lives. Therefore, his activity is now being closely monitored.

So the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology of Italy measures every earthquake around the volcano, analyzes the gases released and monitors the deformation of the soil, which are indicators of underground activity.

Mount Vesuvius, located near the Italian city of Naples, last powerfully erupted in 1944. However, experts are sure that this was far from the last time. And in order to at least roughly know when the next eruption will occur, scientists conduct research and make predictions.

More than three million people live in the immediate vicinity of the volcano, and in the past, eruptions have destroyed entire settlements and cities in the area. The most famous of them wiped out the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in 79 AD.

To find out when to prepare for the next time, Swiss scientists, together with colleagues from Italy and France, conducted a study in which they analyzed the four largest eruptions of Vesuvius. They wanted to predict whether or not to worry about the impending disaster.

During the study, experts studied garnet crystals that occur in igneous rocks – shales and gneisses. Knowing the age of these minerals allows us to conclude how long the magma was in the magma chamber under Vesuvius before the volcano erupted it.

By studying the age of garnet minerals, the researchers found that the most “explosive” type of magma (phonolithic) is stored in a reservoir in the upper crust of a volcano for several thousand years before an influx of hotter magma from the lower crust triggers an eruption.

From this follows the conclusion that the composition of the magma contained in this reservoir can determine the intentions of Vesuvius.

But since the volcano has been producing mostly mafic magma since 1631 (relatively harmless), the researchers believe that Vesuvius will sleep for several hundred more years – such a period of “lull before the storm” can last for centuries.


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