Drilling into the Campi Flegrei

Slightly odd to see somewhere you used to live pictured in The Times of a morning.

After lying dormant for 4,000 years, one of Europe’s most powerful volcanoes, Campi Flegrei near Naples, is showing signs of life.

Instinct would tell you to stay away, but an international team of scientists are doing exactly the opposite. They are preparing to drill a 4km hole into the heart of the volcano to investigate beneath the surface.

Their aim is to pinpoint the source of mounting pressure that has caused the ground at the port of nearby Pozzuoli to rise dramatically over the past 40 years. Identifying the cause would help scientists to predict how close the volcano is to blowing.

It\’s a great photo of the next bay over from the Bay of Naples. Right in the middle there is Pozuoli (although I would spell it Pozzuoli) which is where Sophia Loren comes from (and her sister, the bird who married Mussolini\’s jazz musician son and is thus the mother of Allesandra Mussolini). Over to the left a bit is Arco Felice and then there\’s what looks like a green pimple. This is Monte Nuovo (which popped up sometime in the 16th/17th century I think. Yes, it\’s a volcano, every hill around here is) and then to the left and up a bit is a lake, Lago Averno: Virgil recorded that this was one of the 7 entrances to hell (where the River Avernus came out).

Lago Averno was at one point open to the sea (it again is the flooded remain of a volcano) and was used at one time by the Romans as a port/mooring. There\’s still a nice Temple of Jupiter on the shoreline (beside which I recall a childhood friend cutting their foot badly as they leapt into the waters, straight onto an abandoned car).

Look up a little bit and you can see a motorway snaking its way through, (running E/W) just north of Monte Nuovo and then going north to avoid the lake. This is what is colloquially known as the Tangentziale (spelling?).

And just where that flick of the loop is, just as it skirts the green of Monte Nuovo, is where we used to live. Looking at Google maps I can see from the satellite photo that the house is still there (it was newly built in the 70s when we moved in). I can even see the swimming pool we used to splosh in, the go cart track (no, not part of the house, the place next door was/is Complesso Turistico Averno) etc.

No, nothing important, just a nice memory of childhood. In fact all sorts of memories: playing with abandoned equipment on the Tangentziale before it was finished and managing to nearly break my ankle: leaping over a fence in flip flops onto an upturned nail…..my brother and I leaping into a hot water pool in February as disapproving matrons wrapped themselves further in their fur coats. Proper pizza even…..

3 thoughts on “Drilling into the Campi Flegrei”

  1. I was standing outside my childhood home a few months ago. Two lassies emerged. I said “I grew up here”. One of them said “Our Aunt has changed it all; it’s very nice now.”

  2. well, maybe at last they will find Atlantis, and we will all be happy. or how abt, who wants to go play on an awakening volcano? or how abt, why don’t the terrorist take advantage and throw some thermonuclear warheads, hydrogen bombs and let’s begin the fireworks? or sacrifice some pagans to the god of the volcano and film the event? or throw all the EU leaders in the volcano, then blow it up, send them to hell! Or a movie abt stirring the volcano and hell, then millions of demons come out to plague earth? Don’t forget to send me royalties!

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