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Mount Vesuvius 'could erupt soon' with 'millions' at risk from active volcano

NewsMount Vesuvius 'could erupt soon' with 'millions' at risk from active volcano

Vesuvius might be the most famous volcano of all time, pummelling the ancient city of Pompeii thousands of years ago in 79AD.

Conservative estimates put the death toll at 2,000 people, but some say as many as 16,000 may have perished if including nearby Herculaneum.

An explosive affair, molten rock would have launched into the sky with pulverised pumice and hot ash speeding down Vesuvius’ slopes at a rate of 1.5 million tonnes per second over the city’s 12,000 residents.

Decades have passed since the area around Vesuvius, Naples, was evacuated, the last coming in 1944.

Yet, it remains an extremely active volcano, with scientists claiming that Vesuvius is at serious risk of erupting at some point in the future — a matter of when, not if.

Underworld, an educational Chanel on YouTube, explored what an impending eruption might look like, and the aftermath that would follow.

In a short documentary exploring’s potential volcanic blasts around the world, the narrator noted: “Mount Vesuvius could erupt again — and soon.”

Compared to volcanoes around the world, Vesuvius isn’t that big, just 1,281 metres above sea level.

But it remains one of the most dangerous because of the number of people who live around it.

Some three million Italians call Naples home and are close enough to be seriously affected by an eruption.

Half a million people live even closer than the rest in what is known as the “danger zone”, making it the most densely populated volcanic reign in the entire world.

The Italian government is extremely worried about it and is actively trying to move people away from the dome’s blast zone.

A national park is slowly being created around the volcano in which no one will be allowed to live, and to help with the fallout of having to move, residents are being offered around $40,000 (£30,000) per person.

The aim is to get the area around Vesuvius so sparsely populated that an evacuation effort would only take a matter of days.

An eruption of a similar size to that which wiped Pompeii out would, the documentary’s narrator noted, “would surely be much, much worse.”

There may be hope yet, however. Last year, scientists carried out a study which suggested that an eruption at Vesuvius may not happen for another few hundred years.

Researchers took a closer look at the volcano’s four largest eruptions over the last 10,000 years, the “worst case scenario” being that seen at Pompeii.

Evidence found and seismic surveys indicate that Vesuvius may well be taking an extended break.

It has since 1631 been mostly producing something known as mafic magma — magma that contains lower amounts of silica and is generally less viscous and less gas-rich than silicic magma, the most fluid and low viscosity magma you can find, hinting that an all-out explosive eruption is less likely.

Olivier Bachmann, professor at ETH Zurich, said this was largely a good sign, telling Futurity: “That’s why we think it’s more likely that a large, explosive eruption of Vesuvius would occur only after a quiescent period lasting for centuries.”

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