ROME, May 12 (Xinhua) — The eruption of the Etna volcano in southern Italy early Thursday is connected to the earthquakes that rocked the Spanish region of Murcia, killing 12 people and injuring more than 170 others, a seismology expert said Thursday. We are currently witnessing an intense seismic activity in the entire Mediterranean area from Spain all the way to Malta which has a certain impact on regional volcanoes,” said Domenico Patane, director of the Sicily office of Italy s National Geophysics Institute. Patane said volcanoes are like windows from where underground magma surfaces and it’s normal that they respond to earthquakes occurring in a geographic proximity. “The Spanish eastern coast hit by the quake, after all, lies close to Italy, in the Mediterranean. Both Spain and Sicily are on the same earth plate,” he said. Etna is more like the submerged volcanoes on the ocean floor, created when subterranean plates are pulled apart, allowing millions of tons of lava to well up. Now geologists think they have solved the mystery. It seems that two small plates on the Mediterranean floor are being squeezed by the collision between Africa and Europe, and are acting as ‘furnace bellows’, drawing lava up from deep in the Earth’s crust. –Mail, Xinhua
The implication that earthquakes along the Mediterranean could be squeezing magma to the surface is alarming because besides perturbing the super-volcano Campi Flegrei, the process could also awaken another monster lurking in the Tyrrhenian Sea just off the coast of Italy. Marsili is a large undersea volcano in the Tyrrhenian Sea, about 175 kilometers (110 miles) south of Naples. The seamount is about 3,000 meters (9,800 feet) tall; its peak and crater are about 450 meters below the sea surface. Though it has not erupted in recorded history, volcanologists believe that Marsili is a relatively fragile-walled structure, made of low-density and unstable rocks, fed by the underlying shallow magma chamber. 2010 underwater surveys revealed the walls of Marsili were experiencing a magnetic anomaly and were gravely degraded by recent volcanic activity. Volcanologists with the Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV) announced on March 29, 2010 that Marsili could erupt at any time, and might experience a catastrophic collapse that would suddenly release vast amounts of magma in an undersea eruption and landslide that could trigger destructive tsunamis on the Italian coast. Below is a video of the destructive nature of just such an event.