Oceanography: “dome” discovered in the Gulf of Naples
A seabed dome-like structure lies in the Gulf of Naples: it is a seafloor swelling with gaseous emissions. The discovery was made by a team of researchers from the Institute for Coastal Marine Environment (IAMC) and the Institute of Geosciences and Earth Resources (IGGC) of the National Research Council (CNR), the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV) and the Department of Earth Sciences of the University of Florence.
The results, which have been recently published in Scientific Reports-Nature, come from surveys made during the SAFE - Seafloor Acoustic Detection of Fluid Emissions campaign carried out in 2014 on board the CNR oceanographic ship Urania. Located at about 5 km offshore the Gulf of Naples and 2.5 km off Posillipo, the area identified by the researchers was formed by a gas discharge which is still active. In particular, during the survey 35 active gaseous emissions and over 650 small craters attributable to degassing processes occurred recently were observed.
“The data collected in the Gulf of Naples”, said INGV researcher Guido Ventura, “suggest that this activity is possibly related to a volcanic phenomenon that is not associated, at the moment, with any direct rise of magma; however, previous evidence in Japan, Canary Islands and Red Sea showed that, in some cases, these events can precede the formation of underwater volcanoes or hydrothermal explosions”. Therefore, the investigation of this phenomenon, similar to that characterizing the activity ongoing in Campi Flegrei, can be a starting point to better understand underwater volcanoes in coastal areas.