According to a study published in the Geophysical Research Letters journal, the Colli Albani (Alban Hills) Volcanic District may be active and not extinct as it was thought.

The region is located near Rome, 20 miles southeast of the downtown of Italy’s capital and its last eruption allegedly was more than 30,000 years ago. The District is considered as a volcanic region that may be awakening since some unusual activity no related to extinct volcanos was detected, like steam vents and small earthquakes. Even in some areas rise to the ground level forming irregular soil was noticed.

The Volcano District Colli Alba was thought to be sleeping, yet it has revealed its true colors by showing signs of activity recently. Image Credit: Weather
The Volcano District Colli Alba was thought to be sleeping, yet it has revealed its true colors by showing signs of activity recently. Image Credit: Weather

Assessing the volcanic hazard for Rome

The investigation, led by F. Marra, M. Gaeta, B. Giaccio and other seven scientists developed the research to present an updated report about eruptive activity at Colli Albani Volcanic District.

It was published this week in the Geophysical Research Letters, a prestigious publisher of scientific content and other types of academic investigations, under the title “Assessing the volcanic hazard for Rome: 40Ar/39Ar and In-SAR constraints on the most recent eruptive activity and present-day uplift at Colli Albani Volcanic District”.

The research used data collected from the past, as well as field study, to determine the trends during a long time regarding the volcanic activity.

The results were prepared separating data from each peak that was reviewed separately including the Monte Savello, Giuturna, Valle Marciana, Pantano Secco and, Prata Porci. In a quite detailed research, the scientists described the behavior of the tectonic regime and eruptive cycles of the region using soil samples and documentary references.

“There is a clear convergence of independent pieces of evidence suggesting the onset of a new volcanic cycle, possibly leading to eruptive unrest that may affect the area of Rome,” states the final report of the research.

Colli Albani and its secrets

Italian for ‘Alban Hills’, is the major volcanic complex in the country, with its highest point at 3,120ft above sea level and with some lakes within the volcanic mountains.

There are villages in the Alban Hills known for its castles that used to be ruled by ancient aristocratic families in Italy. The Roman Castles are today mostly used as luxury summer residences.  Since the district is near southeastern suburbs of the City of Rome, there is some considerable interaction between towns,

The Alban Hills have been subject to many artists’ work, due to its stunning natural beauty. The area, however, is proving that it can be dangerous. The volcano peaks are emitting considerably large amounts of carbon dioxide, that, combined with the lack of winds, a regular climatic feature of the district, can generate a severe environmental issue.  In that sense, the risk of the volcanic region may be more than just the awakening of volcanic activity.

Source: Online Library