Science: What's Up in Pozzuoli?

The shabby Italian seaport of Pozzuoli, just outside Naples, is widely known as the home town of Sophia Loren. But Pozzuoli (pop. 70,000) has another distinction. Perched atop a geologically active area that includes Vesuvius and boiling sulfur springs named the Campi Flegrei ("Fiery Fields"), the ancient town has been quite literally rising and falling at least since Roman times. These terrestrial undulations—an example of what some geologists call bradyseisms (from the Greek roots bradys, or slow, and seismos, earthquake) —usually occur gradually and imperceptibly. But lately Pozzuoli has been moving at an extaordinary rate. Last week, after parts of Pozzuoli...

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