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Italy earthquake: Mount Vesuvius on brink as quake strikes near Naples | Science | News


Residents of Irpinia, in the municipality of Paternopoli were shaken when a 3.0 magnitude was felt at midday, local time, today.

Although no damages to buildings nor injuries were reported, schools were evacuated as a precautionary measure.

Near to the epicentre of the earthquake is the potentially catastrophic Mount Vesuvius, some 51 miles away.

The 4,200-foot high volcano last erupted in 1944 and usually has an eruption cycle of every 20 years, meaning that it has been building up for almost four times that amount.

Mt Vesuvius is responsible for one of the most deadly eruptions in human history when, in 79 AD, the huge erupted over the city of Pompeii, killing all 11,000 inhabitants of the ancient Roman-ruled area.

It is the most densely populated volcanic region in the world, with three million people living in the nearby city of Naples.

The earthquakes themselves are nothing to be concerned about, but some seismologists and volcanologists believe that tremors around a volcano could be a precursor of an impending eruption.

As a result of any impending blast, Italian officials in recent years have begun planning evacuation procedures.

The strategy is being created as the size of the “red zone” – areas which could be hit by an eruption – massively increased in 2016 from 550,000 people in 18 towns to 672,000 in 25 surrounding towns.

Vincenzo De Luca, President of the Campania region, told Italian press: “We have to equip ourselves to be prepared. Mount Vesuvius is a problem of gigantic proportions.”

Under the new proposal, there will be a plan in place to remove everyone from the danger zones within 72 hours, with 500 buses and 220 trains being readied in the first 12 hours to transport the citizens.

President De Luca has said: “We have no particular problems right now, but it is our duty to be prepared. Either you can pretend not to see challenges, or you can face them head on – even the most difficult.

“We should take advantage of the fact that Vesuvius is currently dormant, that it’s giving no sign of movement, in order to prepare ourselves to cope with the emergency, should it wake up.”



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