европа вулканы

Seen from mountaintop monastery Hermitage dei Camaldoli, the suburban sprawl of greater Naples sits atop a massive volcanic caldera that may be poised to erupt.

Posillipo Hill, the dark ridge on the left, is part of the wall of the caldera, which stretches 12 kilometers across.

Just 10 kilometers from the frenetic pulse of central Naples, in stark contrast to the Italian city’s impressive volcanic-stone churches and effortlessly stylish urbanites, sits a boxy, concrete building.

Inside this unremarkable government outpost, accessed through a pair of sliding glass doors, is the Vesuvius Observatory monitoring room, lit by the cool glow of 92 flat-panel screens.

On each screen, volcano notification systems, including those from seismic devices sensitive enough to pick up a passing bus, blink and beep in real time. And in the middle of that desk is a single red phone.

Twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year, there are at least two people in the room, ready to pick up the phone and advise the national civilian defense in the event of a volcano-related emergency.

But Mount Vesuvius, its iconic cone rising conspicuously on the city’s eastern flank, is not the only concern.

A potentially even more destructive volcanic giant is tossing fitfully in its sleep, right on Naples’ doorstep: the caldera of the massive volcano system Campi Flegrei, which translates to the fields of fire.

Dozens of monitors at the Vesuvius Observatory outside Naples track earthquakes and other regional volcanic activity.

The observatory’s director, Francesca Bianco, points out recent tremors around the facility’s namesake, but the bigger threat to the metropolis may be Campi Flegrei, a massive caldera beneath the suburbs, seen in the upper left monitor.

If it erupts, an event some researchers feel is increasingly likely, it could be catastrophic for Italy’s third-largest municipality and the surrounding countryside.

Disruptions could stretch far beyond Italy, too, affecting everything from air travel to agriculture, with ash darkening the skies over Europe and the Mediterranean.