London, Sep 22 (ANI): Scientists are preparing to drill 13,000ft into active volcano Campi Flegrei in Italy in a bid to protect the nearby city of Naples by gauging when it is likely to erupt.
But there are fears that the experiment, which will tap into 500-600C hot magma, could lead to an eruption, which would endanger the 1.5 million people who live in and around Naples.
The team of scientists wants to insert a borehole inside Campi Flegrei, a huge volcanic formation outside Naples, in the hope of gauging how active it is.
Also known as the Phlegraean Fields, Campi Flegrei is an eight-mile-wide caldera lying west of Naples.
It comprises 24 volcanic fissures and craters - one of which was believed by the ancient Romans to be the home of Vulcan, the god of fire - although much of it lies under water as it extends into the Bay of Naples, reports the Telegraph.
It last erupted in 1538, and recent seismic activity in the area has raised fears that it could be ready to blow again.
The project is due to start early next month, when the team will drill 1640ft into the ground at a site in Bagnoli, near Naples.
The second phase, due to start in the spring, will involve the drilling of a 4,000 metre deep borehole at the same location.
Scientists will use sensors to measure seismic activity and the temperature of the rock at different depths in an attempt to understand how unstable the area is. (ANI)