Mediterranean tsunami scare

Scientist warns of dangerous’ underwater volcano

Editorial Staff
April 8, 2010

At the bottom of the Tyrrenhian sea, off the southern Italian coast of the Campania region, lies Europe's largest undersea volcano, the Marsili volcano. It is active but has not erupted in recorded history.


In an interview with Corriere della Sera, an Italian vulcanologist made international headlines when he spoke of the possibility that the volcano's ‘fragile' walls could collapse ‘at any time,' causing a tsunami that would hit southern Italy.


‘A rupture of the walls would let loose millions of cubic metres of material capable of generating a very powerful wave,' said Enzo Boschi, president of the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology. ‘Our latest research shows that the volcano is not structurally solid, its walls are fragile, the magma chamber is of sizeable dimensions,' he explained. ‘All that tells us that the volcano is active and could begin erupting at any time,' he added.


With no way to predict it, the event would result in ‘a strong tsunami that could strike the coasts of Campania, Calabria and Sicily,' he warned. Measuring 70 kilometres by 30 kilometres and standing 3,000 meters high, the Marsili volcano's crater is approximately 450 metres below the surface of the sea, 150 kilometres southwest of Naples.

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