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Campi Flegrei Hit by Strongest Earthquake in 40 Years, Hundreds Flee Homes

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The Campi Flegrei region near Naples, Italy, has been rocked by the strongest earthquake in 40 years, reaching a magnitude of 4.4. Residents are fleeing homes as authorities heighten monitoring and safety measures.

The Campi Flegrei region near Naples, Italy, has been experiencing an intense seismic swarm. Between 7.51pm yesterday and 12.31am today, approximately 150 earthquakes were recorded, with the strongest reaching a magnitude of 4.4. This event marks the most significant seismic activity in the area in the past 40 years, according to the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV). Previous records were surpassed, notably the one from September 27, when a 4.2 magnitude earthquake was recorded.

The recent swarm highlights the ongoing bradyseismic phenomenon, characterized by the gradual uplift of the ground. Despite the recent intense activity, the INGV reports that the lift speed remains at the current rate of 2 cm per month, considerably lower than the peak rates observed during the bradyseismic crisis of 1982-84, which saw ground lifting rates of 9 cm per month and over 1300 seismic events monthly.

While the seismic activity cannot be accurately predicted, the authorities are on high alert. The geochemical parameters have not shown significant changes, save for an increase in temperature and pressure within the hydrothermal system. Continuous monitoring, both ordinary and extraordinary, is being conducted by INGV Vesuvius Observatory to detect even the smallest variations that might better define the current phenomenon. The observatory remains in constant contact with both national and regional Civil Protection departments, as well as local authorities.

The impact of the seismic activities has been felt widely, with tremors also being reported on the island of Procida and in various locations around Naples, including Casavatore, Giugliano in Campania, and Afragola. The initial tremor of magnitude 3.5 at 7.51pm was soon followed by a more substantial quake of magnitude 4.4 at 8.10pm. Residents in affected areas have reported structural damages such as cracks and falling debris, but no injuries have been reported.

Local authorities, particularly in Pozzuoli, have taken precautionary measures by closing schools and setting up reception areas to assist the population. Civil Protection volunteers are actively supporting local authorities, and efforts are being made to strengthen traffic controls and verify the integrity of subservice networks. In Bagnoli and other areas, many residents have temporarily left their homes, expressing fear and uncertainty about returning.

In addition to the physical safety measures, the municipality’s emergency response includes utilizing social media platforms like Facebook to guide and calm the populace. Mayor Gigi Manzoni of Pozzuoli has assured citizens that they are in contact with the INGV for all updates and are organizing teams to assess any further damage to infrastructure. Authorities remain vigilant, prepared to respond to any additional tremors.

  • The INGV continues to provide real-time data and analysis through its dedicated monitoring stations around the Campi Flegrei caldera. These stations operate round the clock to track seismic activity and any changes in geophysical and geochemical properties. The coordination between INGV and Civil Protection agencies ensures a streamlined approach to disaster management and public safety.
  • Despite the increased activity, experts advise residents to remain calm and follow instructions from local authorities. The INGV emphasizes that while current events are significant, they do not necessarily indicate an imminent volcanic eruption. However, the situation underscores the importance of ongoing research and preparedness in regions prone to such natural phenomena.
Daily Reports
Refs: | Merkur | ANSA |

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