Saturday, November 21, 2009

Drilling into volcano will not make volcano eruption

After lying dormant for 4,000 years, one of Europe’s most powerful volcanoes, Campi Flegrei near Naples, is showing signs of life.

Instinct would tell you to stay away, but an international team of scientists are doing exactly the opposite. They are preparing to drill a 4km hole into the heart of the volcano to investigate beneath the surface.

Their aim is to pinpoint the source of mounting pressure that has caused the ground at the port of nearby Pozzuoli to rise dramatically over the past 40 years. Identifying the cause would help scientists to predict how close the volcano is to blowing.

“The volcano is breathing and there is a very serious seismic risk,” said Dr Ulrich Harms, a vulcanologist at the German Centre for Geoscience in Potsdam. A powerful eruption would cause widespread devastation and could cover thousands of square kilometres in volcanic ash, he said.

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