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INGV and CNR: satellites and GPS to analyse the movement of soil beneath Campi Flegrei

A new technique, described in a study published in the journal Scientific Reports, was developed by INGV and CNR. The new technique can calculate, through satellite and GPS data, the soil movement in the Campi Flegrei area. The study provides new monitoring systems that can help manage possible future volcanic crises.


(Photo: INGV)

The analysis technique combines data from satellites with those from GPS receivers positioned in the Campi Flegrei area, providing, in real-time, ground motion intensity measures.

It is the new monitoring technique developed by a team of researchers from the Vesuvius Observatory of the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV-OV) and from the Institute for Electromagnetic Sensing of the Environment of the National Research Council (CNR-IREA), to better understand the phenomena of ground uplift that have been going on in recent years in the Campi Flegrei area.


 “Thanks to the data acquired by the COSMO-SkyMed satellites (placed in orbit by the Italian Space Agency starting in 2007), equipped with radar systems, and by the GPS receivers of the INGV-OV geodetic surveillance network, composed of 14 sensors scattered in the Campi Flegrei area”, explained Susi Pepe, researcher of CNR-IREA, “it was possible to observe even the smallest ground deformation, and study the ground uplift trend in the caldera”.


The area has always been characterised by ground uplift and lowering phenomena of varying extent and, therefore, monitoring is a strategic measure for the security of the area.


 “After the last eruption in 1538, which produced the Monte Nuovo crater”, said Luca D'Auria, the researcher responsible for the Monitoring Room of INGV’s Vesuvius Observatory, “the Campi Flegrei ground was slowly sinking for centuries until 1950, when the uplift in area resumed. This phenomenon, known as bradyseism, broke out in full force between 1982 and 1985. During that period, accompanied by earthquakes, the ground showed an uplift of about 2 metres, leading to the evacuation of thousands of residents of the town of Pozzuoli. In 2005, the ground began to rise up again, slowly, and earthquakes, of low magnitude, reappeared”.


The results of the study are of great importance for the interpretation of data acquired by new generation satellites (such as those of the SENTINEL constellation of the European Copernicus Programme, developed by the European Space Agency - ESA) and the innovative technologies of geophysical monitoring at Campi Flegrei.

“These new monitoring systems, integrated with the latest methods of analysis, may provide a useful tool to address possible future volcanic crises at Campi Flegrei”, said Susi Pepe from CNR.

Publication date 08/24/2015
Source INGV
Organizations CNR , INGV