A recent paper, published by Science Advances (link: HERE), set up a red flag for a possible catastrophe in Italy. Under the location named Campi Flegrei (Phlegraean Fields, Wikipedia link) there is a massive volcanic area, with one of the largest caldera ever observed.
The paper explains in detail how the subterranean magma pressure is growing, and then proceeds to delineate the whole process that could lead to a cataclysmic eruption in the foreseeable future. Please bear in mind that near the Campi Flegrei area there is the city of Napoli (Naples) with more than 1.5 million people.
It is also possible that such an eruption leads to one or more other seismic events like the earthquakes happened in 1980 and in 1981. In that scenario, many more people could be involved. The consequences on the biosphere are unpredictable, and so is the extension of such a phenomenon. In the worst case scenario, the whole of Europe could be somewhat affected.
The worst of it? We don’t know for sure how to defuse this kind of natural disasters. Drilling holes in a caldera could lead to a minor eruption, with undisclosed results. We don’t have a clear strategy, nor we do have the technical means to perform it. This could be one of the most challenging projects ever but the time is getting short.