The record of felt earthquakes around Naples Bay in southern Italy is probably complete since the mid-15th century. According to this record, intense earthquake swarms originating beneath Campi Flegrei, an explosive caldera located along the north coast of Naples Bay, have occurred only twice: (1) before the only historical eruption in Campi Flegrei in 1538; and (2) from mid-1983 to December 1984. Earthquake activity during the earlier period, which began at least a few years, and possibly as many as 30 years, before the 1538 eruption, damaged many buildings in the city of Pozzuoli, located near the center of Campi Flegrei. Minor seismic activity, which consisted of only a few felt earthquakes, occurred from 1970 to 1971. The second period of intense earthquake swarms lasted from mid-1983 to 1984, again damaging many buildings in Pozzuoli. Two periods of uplift along the shoreline within Campi Flegrei have also been noted since the mid-15th century: (1) during the few decades before the 1538 eruption; and (2) as two distinct episodes since 1968. Uplift of a few meters probably occurred a few decades before the 1538 eruption; uplift of as much as 3.0 m has occurred in Pozzuoli since 1968. These similarities strongly suggest that, for the first time in 440 years, the same process that caused intense local earthquake swarms and uplift in the early 1500's and led to an eruption in 1538, has again occurred beneath Campi Flegrei. Though no major seismicity or uplift has occurred since December 1984, because of the large amount of extensional strain accumulated during the past two decades, if a third episode of seismicity and rapid uplift occurs, it may lead to an eruption within several months after the resumption of activity. ?? 1991.
Additional publication details
History of earthquakes and vertical ground movement in Campi Flegrei caldera, Southern Italy: comparison of precursory events to the A.D. 1538 eruption of Monte Nuovo and of activity since 1968