In 79 AD, Mount Vesuvius erupted and killed thousands of people. It is believed to be one of the worst volcano disasters in history. Scientists believe, however, that the nearby Pompeii Supervolcano poses an even greater threat and could kill millions if it erupts.
According to Reuters, the area around Pompeii is a major tourist attraction due to the “boiling mud” and “sulphurous steam holes” of Campi Flegrei near Naples Bay. The area was once believed to be the entrance to hell and, well, they weren’t that far off. Underneath Pompeii is a huge pile of molten rock. If the super volcano erupts, millions of people living above would be killed.
Scientists are planning to drill about 2.2 miles below the surface of the earth to get a better look at the molten rock. They hope to monitor warning signs so that they can give people a “run for your lives” heads up.
Giuseppe De Natale, who is leading the drilling project, said:
“Fortunately, it is extremely rare for these areas to erupt at their full capacity, as it is extremely rare for large meteorites to hit the earth…. But some of these areas, in particular the Campi Flegrei, are densely populated and therefore even small eruptions, which are the most probable, fortunately, can pose risks for the population… That is why the Campi Flegrei absolutely must be studied and monitored. I wouldn’t say like others, but much more than the others exactly because of the danger given that millions of people live in the volcano.”
But Natale and his team may be doing more harm than good. Several local scientists are protesting the drilling, saying that Natale’s team could cause an eruption instead of preventing one.