Just days after the most powerful earthquake in four decades, Naples, Italy, experienced another magnitude 4.0 quake, per Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV). On Tuesday, October 3, 2023, a seismic event caused minor structural damage but, thankfully, no injuries. A 4.2-magnitude quake on September 27 sent tremors all the way to Rome. The affected area, Campi Flegrei, or the Phlegraean Fields, features ancient volcanoes dating back 39,000 years and experiences escalating seismic activity. Covering 200 kilometers under the Bay of Naples, Ischia, and Capri, the region is known for bradyseism, a geological phenomenon involving ground uplift and subsidence cycles. The last major eruption in Campi Flegrei occurred in 1538, creating a new mountain in the bay. In 2023, the area recorded a remarkable 2,868 earthquakes, with 1,118 in August alone. Carlo Doglioni, INGV head, presented two possible scenarios to the Italian government’s Environmental Commission: one where the ongoing bradyseism crisis resolves, akin to what occurred in 1983–84, and the other, a more ominous scenario, involving an eruption similar to that of 1538. This evolving situation is currently under close monitoring.

In response, the INGV has urged the municipality of Naples to evacuate residents residing closest to the volcanic area to assess the structural vulnerabilities resulting from ground uplift. Most of the structures at risk have been constructed within the past two decades. Italy’s civil protection agency estimates that approximately 800,000 people live in the designated “yellow zone,” while 500,000 reside in the “red zone,” the highest-risk area near the seismic region. In light of the recent seismic activity, local residents are demanding an updated evacuation plan to address the potential consequences of a volcanic eruption.