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The natural cement from the Campi Flegrei volcano is similar to Roman cement, a legendary compound invented by the Romans and used to build the Pantheon, the Colosseum and hundreds of ports in the Mediterranean.
«This implies the existence of a natural process under the surface of Campi Flegrei that is similar to that used to produce cement.«, Explained Tiziana Vanorio, in experimental geophysics at Stanford.
Campi Flegrei sits in the center of a large valley and is full of craters that were formed when there were eruptions in the past, the last about 500 years ago. Inside this caldera is the colorful port city of Pozzuoli, which was founded in 600 BC by the Greeks and is known as 'Puteoli' by the Romans.
In early 1982, the ground under Pozzuoli began to rise in an alarming way. After two years the lift was already six feet, a situation that had never happened before in the world. The uplift was accompanied by plenty of small earthquakes, many of them small, but after a magnitude four earthquake shook Pozzuoli, the authorities evacuated the historic city center and Pozzuoli became a ghost town of the night. in the morning.
«Earthworks occur in volcanic areas such as Yellowstone or Long Valley in the United States, but never in the way that occurred in Pozzuoli, and a larger uplift is usually required to cause earthquakes.«, Says Professor Vanorio. "In Campi Feligrei, the micro-earthquakes were delayed for months despite the large deformations of the soil."
To understand why the subsoil is able to adapt without breaking suddenly, Vanorio and an associate professor, Warunton Kanitpanyacharoen, have studied the rocks there. In the early 1980s, a research program conducted a geothermal survey of Campi Flegrei that went as deep as two miles underground.
Scientists further realized that the soil contained various minerals and cement, which could make the Campi Flegrei soil more ductile and that explains why the soil could easily deform before breaking.