Bigger Than Vesuvius: A super volcano that threatens all life in Europe?

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NAPLES, ITALY, THE NEAR FUTURE

It begins with a swarm of 1,000 small earthquakes that ripple under the pavements of Naples. Air-conditioning units fall from the sides of buildings and tiles slip from the walls. Inside the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology’s control centre, a bank of screens indicates that the quakes aren’t being generated by the giant Mount Vesuvius, which looms over the city.

These quakes are coming from something far bigger, from one of the largest and most dangerous volcanoes in the world: the Campi Flegrei caldera. Vesuvius, which destroyed the Roman city of Pompeii, incinerating and suffocating thousands, is nothing more than a pimple on the back of the sleeping dragon of Campi Flegrei, an active four-mile-wide sunken volcano. A call is quickly put through to Civil Defence and the Italian Ministry of the Interior: the city must be evacuated immediately.

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