A 12-km wide cauldron that forms a vast supervolcano on the coast of Italy is showing signs of reawakening after almost 500 years of inactivity.
Not only is this site rumoured to be responsible for the extinction of the Neanderthals, it’s got 500,000 people living around it right now, and researchers say it appears to be approaching a critical pressure point that could lead to an eruption.
Since its formation, Campi Flegrei has only had two major eruptions - 35,000 years ago and 12,000 years ago - and a smaller eruption that occurred in 1538.
But when we say "smaller", it’s all relative, because the 1538 eruption lasted for eight days straight, and spewed so much material into the surrounding area, it formed a new mountain, Monte Nuovo.
It’s the whole site that’s a concern though - the eruption that occurred 200,000 years ago is thought to have been so cataclysmic, a 2010 study suggests that it triggered a 'volcanic winter', that ultimately led to the extinction of the Neanderthals.
While the connection of the demise of the Neanderthals remains purely speculative until further evidence can be found, the eruption, which is thought to have spewed almost 1 trillion gallons (3.7 trillion litres) of molten rock onto the surface - along and with just as much sulphur into the atmosphere - is not.
"These areas can give rise to the only eruptions that can have global catastrophic effects comparable to major meteorite impacts," Giuseppe De Natale from Italy’s National Institute for Geophysics and Volcanology, told Reuters back in 2012.