28.3.2013: The volcano crater of Solfatara and the city of Pozzuoli

After having seen the consequences of a big volcano eruption, we want to see a volcano from the near. The so called Phlegreic fields northwest of Naples are a volcanic area. Numerous small craters are forming the landscape, partly filled with water making nice lakes. The most active of theses craters is Solfatara near Pozzuoli, which had its last eruption some 800 years ago (1198).

Vesuvius still in clouds, but it does not rain.

This time we take the car, on the highway around Naples and further on to Pozzuoli. We park our car on a street to the left of the crater on the inactive side. Here there is a camping ground, where I have pitched some 35 years ago when I was a student.

On the opposite side there is continuous steaming and smoking.

Panoramic picture of the Solfatara crater. Click here or into the picture for a larger version

On the ground of the crater there are bubbling mud holes containing fango, which can be used for therapeutic purposes.

Multiple small holes in the slope smoking all the time ...

From the hydrogen sulfide, sulfur is deposited ...

 ... in nice yellow crystals.

The mud holes



Sulfur everywhere

The so called "Big fumarole" (Bocca grande). Here, gas come sout with 160 C and 15 mbar prerssure. That does not seem to be much, but makes an impressive effect.

When the wind comes from the wrong direction, you are wrapped in smoke and steam.

Vulcanologists are drawing gas specimens. Changes in the gas composition could mean changes in the underground and eventually could indicate an eruption.

Lots of sulfur deposits here.

In former days, chambers were constructed here where people stayed inside like in a sauna. They believed the gas and the heat being good against respiratory diseases. ...



If you throw a big stone onto the ground here, it makes a dark echo from the hollow underground ... scary!

The area is permanently controlled by thermal infrared imaging to see changes as early as possible.

More mud holes.

At the entrance of the crater, you have a nice view over Pozzuoli and the adjacent cove.

Panoramic view from Solfatara over Pozzuoli. Click here or into the picture for a larger version.

The haven of Pozzuoli ...

 ... and the view to the isle of Ischia ...

 ... where ferry boats are leaving.

Car queues at the ferry - we are sitting here for a leisurly coffee.

The ancient Serapis temple


Since the ancient time, the land has lowered several metres, so the columns are under water. In the meantime, there was a re- elevation of about 3 metres.

Vesuvius, as seen from the car on the drive back ...

 ... and from the viewpoint near Castellamare.


The clouds on Vesuvius begin to dissolve.

Panoramic view of the Naples gulf, in the centre Vesuvius, to the right Castellamare di Stabia. Click here or into the picture for a larger version.

Industry and harbour in Castellamare

The sun now comes out an afternoon walk through the centre of Vico equense

 ... with the view down to the cove of Seiano. I shall visit the pier this evening ...

View from Vico equense to Vesuvius ...

 ... and Monte Faito.

In the hotel ...

 ... and soon afterwards out to the pier, to catch the evening ...