A slumbering Campi Flegrei volcano under the Italian city of Naples shows signs of “reawakening” and may be nearing a critical pressure point, according to a study published Tuesday. Italian and French scientists have for the first time identified a threshold beyond which rising magma under the Earth’s surface could trigger the release of fluids and gases at a 10-fold increased rate.

This would cause the injection of high-temperature steam into surrounding rocks, said lead author Giovanni Chiodini, a researcher at Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Bologna. “Hydrothermal rocks, if heated, can ultimately lose their mechanical resistance, causing an acceleration towards critical conditions,” he told AFP by email. READ MORE