Strong natural disaster hits central Italy

A 5.4 magnitude natural disaster has struck central Italy near the capital Rome.

The Italian Council of Ministers extended the state of emergency, introduced in the central regions of the country after last year's earthquakes, and made a decision to allocate 30 million euros (about $31.9 million) of aid, the government said Friday in a statement. After this, six aftershocks were recorded in the same area, one of which was even stronger than the initial quake at 5.7 magnitude. The tower of one of Amatrice's churches toppled in Wednesday's quakes.

Small tremors have reportedly been felt in Rome for several weeks but Wednesday's was the biggest seismic event in several months. Buildings in Rome have been evacuated while rural areas have been described as "apocalyptic". Additionally, according to the Global Earthquake Activity Rate (GEAR) model, this earthquake should not be considered surprising. The strongest quake to strike Italy in the last 1,000 years was a 7.4 tremor that pounded eastern Sicily in 1693.

The latest tremors also affected the neighbouring regions of Abruzzo and Lazio and were felt in the capital, Rome. That is significant, but still much weaker than the 6.5-magnitude temblor the shook the area near Perugia in October 2016, or the 6.2-magnitude quake near Amatrice in August 2016. The Mayor of Amatrice announced after the quake, "The town is gone".

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As of now, no damage or causalities have been reported. The region is covered by very thick snow which made the quake much worst.

"Wednesday's quakes could have come as one single event of magnitude 6 or higher, " Valensise said, adding, "the earth's crust has for some reason chose to break up in smaller pieces". What can I say? As of 10 a.m. this morning in California (7 Italy), there have been 10 M=4.1+ earthquakes in the last eight hours.

This is due to the separation of the subterranean tectonic plates on which Italy sits.

  • Adam Floyd