Gasp! This is shocking news. Italy could sink! But before you panic, be thankful that the volcano blogging community has unpicked the story regarding this underwater volcano, Marsili. The volcano is not erupting, there is some activity down there, but no more than has been known about for some years.
The news originates from an interview with Italian geologist Enzo Boschi, director of the Italian national institute of geophysics and vulcanology, in the Italian newspaper Corriere della Serra. Boschi seems to have raised the alarm on Marsili, saying that it is about to blow. At Eruptions, Erik Klemetti begins to explain what happened, or at least his analysis of why the media have been so keen to overegg the pudding on this one. Klemetti queries the assertion that the volcano is “bursting with magma”, a phrase which might have emerged in translation. He points us to the excellent Volcanism blog, where Ralph Harrington unpicks things further still, and points out that there is no new news here, and the report that Marsili is liable to erupt came out of some work done last year.
The real story, it seems is one of funding. Italy has the capability to monitor any future rumblings of Marsili, which are unlikely to destroy Italy anytime soon by the way, but a full monitoring set up is expensive and the money doesn’t seem to be flowing. This, suggests Harrington, explains Boschi’s outburst. Commenting on both blogs are Italian experts in this field, Boris Behncke and Aldo Piombino who add much depth to this tale. I recommend checking them out.
Image: An artist’s rendition of what an underwater volcano that is not erupting would look like from the surface. Source: Wikimedia commons