And you thought Mount Vesuvius was a big deal. Well, I mean, it was a big deal. And you weren't really there anyway, because the volcano erupted in Pompeii, Italy, back in 79 AD. But apparently there's another volcano hidden in the same area, and this one ain't just any old volcano -- it's a supervolcano, the only kind capable of "eruptions that can have global catastrophic effects comparable to major meteorite impacts."
Oh boy! Like the "meteorite impact" thought to have caused the extinction of the dinosaurs? Yup! That's why scientists are planning to drill 2.2 miles beneath the surface of the area to monitor the activity of the molten lava (i.e., watch for warning signs).
Of course, locals are nervous -- more about the drilling than the possible GIGANTIC eruption, however.
Clearly of the "leave well enough alone" mentality, they're reportedly worried the drilling might rumble up some earthquakes or cause rivers of molten rock to "escape." Madone de mia! Somebody call the Vatican!
Guess the ancient Romans were on to something when they nicknamed the soon-to-be-drilled area, filled with "boiling mud and sulphurous steam holes," the "gates of hell."
Those Romans and their flair for drama, drama, drama! Considering a long jetty built at the drilling site to load steel is being used by "joggers and courting couples enjoying the spectacular Neapolitan sunsets," how "hellish" can it really be?
Anyway. Forget all the other doomsday theories. Forget the zombie apocalypse. Forget alien invasions. Forget Scientologists taking over the universe (wait, I might have made that one up).
THIS is clearly what the Mayans were talking about, dude! Supervolcano for the win!!!
Do you think Italy's hidden supervolcano will blow?
Image via gnuckx/Flickr