Thursday June 20, 2024

Hundreds evacuated due to concerning quakes in Italy

Published : 23 May 2024, 01:30

  DF News Desk
Vesuvius. DF File Photo.

The Phlegraean Fields near Naples continued to be shaken by tremors on Wednesday, prompting worries that a major earthquake in the densely populated area could be on the way, reported Xinhua.

As of mid-day Wednesday local time, 46 families were evacuated from 27 buildings declared unsafe in the wake of more than 200 quakes and aftershocks.

Area schools were closed on Tuesday as a precaution, but reopened on Wednesday after inspections revealed only light structural damage.

The strongest earthquake so far measured a relatively mild 4.4 on the Richter scale, but reverberations were felt as far as 25 km (16 miles) away in Naples, Italy's third largest city.

It was the strongest tremor in the area since 1984 and it is particularly concerning given that the Phlegraean Fields, known as Campi Flegrei in Italian, is among the most populated areas in Europe.

The earthquakes over the last few days recalled the buildup to previous periods of intense volcanic activity. The greater Naples area is home to an estimated 4.4 million residents. Campi Flegrei alone has an estimated 500,000 residents.

Mauro Di Vito, director of the Vesuvius Observatory at Italy's National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, said that the earth in the area has been rising by around 2 centimeters per month.

"We expect more, similar earthquakes," Di Vito said. "We cannot make specific predictions but we expect the recent trend to continue."

Campi Flegrei supervolcano is the much larger and much more active cousin to Mount Vesuvius on the opposite side of the Bay of Naples. Vesuvius is famous as the volcano that destroyed the Roman city of Pompeii in 79 AD.