Scientific drilling, like commercial drilling, is a mature technology that has brought us great benefits. Even drilling into volcanoes, a project that might make some of us nervous, is routinely done whenever funding permits. The International Continental Scientific Drilling Program has had such a project in the works for years for the well-known Campi Flegrei volcanic center near Napoli, Italy in the vicinity of Vesuvio. Therefore I'm flabbergasted that someone on the geology faculty of Naples University (who also teaches volcanology at Virginia Tech) would go on record telling a Reuters reporter, in a story titled "Hidden 'super volcano' could kill millions, scientists warn," that this project might cause an explosion. Was Benedetto De Vivo mistaken, or just misquoted? With the mainstream press, who can tell? Any reporter can find "some local scientists who say the drilling itself could cause a dangerous eruption or earthquake." Just ask someone whose specialty is entirely outside the project's field. A professor of volcanology ought to have some knowledge of volcano drilling, though.
Geologists are often considered to be simple outdoor types who bang on rocks and pronounce upon ancient vistas. In truth, they risk trespassing on some of our most sensitive topics. The Italians are a people steeped in geological catastrophe from the earliest times: volcanoes and earthquakes have punctuated Italy's history since the Roman Empire. A professional volcanologist should be able to defend research practices that have made life safer by helping us better understand volcanoes.