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Growing Volcanic Activity Sparks Alarm Following 4.2 Magnitude Earthquake in Italy's Less Familiar Campi Flegrei Region

 In the early morning hours of Wednesday, an earthquake with a magnitude of 4.2 shook the inhabitants of Campi Flegrei, a volcanic region located to the west of Naples. Although there were no reports of injuries or damage, local residents have become concerned. Italy's Civil Protection Agency has suggested that this seismic activity could indicate an increase in volcanic activity in the area.

Campi Flegrei, unlike its more famous neighbor, Mount Vesuvius, is a vast, flat volcanic complex that has been showing signs of restlessness in recent times. The earthquake occurred at 3:35 a.m. local time (1:35 GMT) and had its epicenter at a shallow depth of around 3 kilometers, causing tremors to be felt in various parts of Naples.

Giosi Gerardo Della Ragione, the mayor of the coastal town of Bacoli on the outskirts of Naples, described the earthquake as "one of the strongest and longest-lasting" in a series of recent seismic events. In a social media message to the local population, Della Ragione urged everyone to "stay calm" and adapt to this phase.

Campi Flegrei, home to approximately half a million residents, last experienced a major eruption in 1538. Its ancient eruptions are believed to have contributed to the extinction of the Neanderthal species around 30,000 years ago. While a previous report from Italy's National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology suggested that the increased volcanic activity might be due to gas rather than magma movement, it also stated that the "likelihood of an eruption remains relatively low."

The earthquake in Italy's Campi Flegrei region raises questions about our understanding of lesser-known but potentially dangerous volcanic systems. As Italy navigates these uncertain seismic waters, the world watches anxiously, mindful of the tumultuous history of volcanic eruptions and their devastating consequences.