The magma and gas from a volcano that lies underneath the metropolitan area of Naples is reaching what scientists call a “critical” condition, putting the lives of some half a million people in danger.

Scientists are certain that magmatic gasses are building within the walls of the volcano and that it will likely erupt at some point in the near future.

However, due to the nature of volcanoes, it is impossible to predict exactly when this will take place.

Scientists point out that it is possible it will not take place in our lifetimes, but it is also possible it will take place sooner than we think.

The volcano, known as Campi Flegrei, has been “waking up” since the 1950s.

But since 2005, it is has been clear that gasses are forming at a much quicker level, which could lead to a severe disaster and loss of human lives.

Scientists watching the volcano for signs of the volcano’s movement stated:

“We propose that magma could be approaching the CDP at Campi Flegrei, a volcano in the metropolitan area of Naples, one of the most densely inhabited areas in the world, and where accelerating deformation and heating are currently being observed.”

Italy’s government has raised the “volcano threat level” from green to yellow. This means that the volcano requires constant scientific study so that people can be warned in case of an eruption.

According to National Geographic, Campi Flegrei means “burning fields” in Italian.

This is because it isn’t just one volcano,instead there are 24 craters within it.

It also has several geysers and vents that can release potentially fatal hot gas, which would also be devastating to the surrounding population.

Scientists know the volcano erupted 200,000  years ago, and the blast triggered an event known as a “volcanic winter.”

It is known as the biggest volcanic activity during that time period.

In 2010, a study of the volcanic eruption of Campi Flegrei that took place 40,000 years ago theorizes that it might have contributed to the extinction of the Neanderthals.

The volcano, however, has remained quiet since 1538 when a small, but still deadly, eruption occurred.

This 500 year dormancy could mean a blast is overdue.

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