Deadly earthquake hits Italy 20 May 2012

Northern Italy quake

map
  • Kills at least six and damages buildings across Emilia Romagna region
  • San Felice sul Panaro: 15th-Century castle severely damaged
  • Finale Emilia: bell tower collapses, crushing cars
  • Sant'Agostino: ceramic factory destroyed, killing two employees
  • Tecopress di Dosso: worker dies when a factory roof collapses
  • Buonacompra: historic church destroyed
  • Tremor also felt in cities of Bologna, Modena, Ferrara, Rovigo, Verona, Mantua, Milan and Venice

Deadly northern Italy earthquake hits heritage site

An earthquake in northern Italy has killed at least seven people and caused serious damage to buildings in several towns, local officials say.

The magnitude-6.0 quake struck in the middle of the night, about 35km (22 miles) north of the city of Bologna.

The tremor caused "significant damage to the cultural heritage" of Emilia Romagna region, the government said.

Later on Sunday, a magnitude-5.1 aftershock hit the region, causing more buildings to collapse.

The aftershock destroyed a clock tower and made a firefighter fall from a wall in the town of Finale Emilia, near the epicentre of the first tremor.

Sunday's quake was the worst to hit the country since the L'Aquila tremor killed nearly 300 people in central Italy in 2009.

'Big bang'

The earthquake struck at a relatively shallow depth of 10km just after 04:00 local time (02:00 GMT).

It was felt across a large swathe of northern Italy, including the cities of Bologna, Ferrara, Verona and Mantua and as far away as Milan and Venice.

The tremor forced many terrified residents into the streets.

Two people were killed in Sant'Agostino when a ceramics factory collapsed.

The mother of one of the victims told local media that "he wasn't supposed to be there. He changed shifts with a friend".

Another person - believed to be a Moroccan national - was killed in Ponte Rodoni do Bondeno.

In Tecopress di Dosso, one worker died when the roof of a foundry collapsed, Rai News24 reports.

Local media say three women died as a result of illness induced by the tremors: a 37-year-old German national, near Bologna, who was said to have had a heart attack, a centenarian in Sant'Agostino and an octogenarian.

About 50 people were injured - but no-one seriously.

More than 3,000 people were later evacuated from their homes amid fears of fresh tremors.

"I was woken at around 04:00 by the quake, it was strong and lasted up to a minute, maybe more," Frankie Thompson, a UK travel journalist in Bologna, told the BBC.

"Church bells were set off spontaneously... followed by an eerie silence. Small aftershocks kept coming and going until maybe 05:50 when a stronger tremor shook us again but not as long and dramatic as the first," she added.

Britain's David Trew, who is staying in a hotel in Ferrara, told the BBC: "I was sound asleep when the tremors started. I was having quite a vivid dream, and the first few seconds of the quake became part of the dream.

"As I began to wake up it took me a few seconds to realise that it was actually happening for real. I fumbled around in the darkness, now very scared. The room was shaking violently, plaster was dropping off the ceiling into my hair and all over the floor."

One local resident told Ansa: "I heard a big bang and I ran on the terrace, I was afraid of falling."

TV footage later showed people inspecting damaged houses, offices and historic buildings. Parts of a castle in Finale Emilia collapsed.

Emergency officials ordered the evacuation of patients from hospitals as a precautionary measure.

Northern Italy is frequently rocked by minor earthquakes, but the country is well-prepared to deal with them, the BBC's Alan Johnston in Rome reports.

In January, a magnitude-5.3 quake hit northern Italy but caused no injuries.

http://www.newsday.com/news/nation/powerful-quake-kills-at-least-4-...

Photo credit: AP | Debris of a collapsed church block a road in Finale Emilia, some 60 kilometers east of Bologna in northern Italy after the region was hit a quake early Sunday, May 20, 2012. One of the strongest earthquakes to shake northern Italy rattled the region around Bologna early Sunday, a magnitude-6.0 temblor that killed at least four people, toppled buildings and sent residents running into the streets, emergency services and news reports said.(AP Photo/Marco Vasini)

Little girl under the earthquake rubble was saved by a call

(AGI) Rome - It was a "miracle". This is the most frequently used word in telling the story of little 5-year old Victoria, who was buried under the rubble of a building in Finale Emilia during last night's earthquake and was rescued by the Fire Department who was following the track opened by a telephone call coming from...New York. In fact, it was an Italian physician who has been living and working in the United States for over 2 years that called the 113 emergency toll-free number after having read of the Internet that the quake had hit his native town and after having been contacted by an Emilian acquaintance who told him of the little girl and explained that she was unable to contact the rescue teams. The Operating Control Room of the Police Headquarters in Rome immediately contacted the Fire Department and the Police of Modena and Vittoria was quickly found and rescued and taken to the hospital in Carpi. Her first-floor bed-room collapsed under the weight of the the ancient 17th Century Obici Tower, which had "freshly" been restored but the little girl was protected by two beams. She suffered some bruises, a big scare but no serious injury. . .

http://www.thenational.ae/news/world/europe/six-killed-as-italy-ear...

The old tower in Finale Emilia collapsed after a 6.0 magnitude earthquake shook Italy, killing at least six people. Giorgio Benvenuti / Reuters


http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/world/13732357/italy-earthquak...

Firemen recover a painting from a destroyed church in the village of San Carlo after an earthquake shook downtown Finale Emilia, in the Modena province.

AFP © <p>Firemen recover a painting from a destroyed church in the village of San Carlo after an earthquake shook downtown Finale Emilia, in the Modena province.</p>


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Comment by bill on May 29, 2012 at 12:40pm

Second big quake strikes northern Italy

ReutersMay 29, 2012, 7:57 pm

MILAN (Reuters) - An earthquake was felt through much of northern Italy on Tuesday, just over a week after a tremor struck the region killing seven people and destroying or damaging hundreds of buildings.

Italian media said the latest earthquake caused more buildings to collapse in the areas already affected by the previous quake, where thousands are still sleeping outdoors in tents.

Television station Rai said some schools had been evacuated as far south as Florence.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the epicenter of Tuesday's 5.8 magnitude earthquake, which struck at depth of 9.6 km (6 miles), was less than 30 km (19 miles) from Modena, not far from where the magnitude 6 earthquake struck just over a week ago.

Messages posted on Twitter and other social media suggested the shake was felt across northern Italy.

"We felt a very strong tremor," said Raffaella Besola, a resident of Bologna.

The Italian civil protection department said it was carrying out checks in Modena province.

(Reporting by Lisa Jucca; Additional reporting by Antonella Cinelli in Rome, Stephen Jewkes in Milan; Editing by Alison Williams)

New earthquake shakes northern Italy - 'nine dead'

Emergency services survey the damage following Tuesday's earthquake

A new earthquake has struck the Emilia region in northern Italy, killing at least nine people and burying several others under rubble, local media say.

All the deaths were in the Modena area.

Three were killed when an industrial shed collapsed in Medolla, three died in San Felice, two in Mirandola and one in Cavezzo.

Tuesday's tremor, estimated at 5.8 magnitude, hit the same region where a quake 10 days ago killed seven people and destroyed many buildings.

Milan and Bologna were shaken too.

Some people fled from buildings when they felt the tremor, which struck at 09:03 local time (07:03 GMT).

Italian media report that some buildings damaged by the larger 20 May quake have now collapsed in Mirandola, Finale Emilia, San Felice and Cavezzo. That quake measured 6.0.

Many historic buildings now lie in ruins in Cavezzo, where the roof of a church, damaged by the earlier quake, collapsed on Tuesday, Il Messaggero news website reports.

Italy map

Calls to emergency services have overloaded the telephone network in some areas, causing a system blackout. Train services have been halted in some parts of northern Italy.

Office workers were evacuated in Bologna and there are reports of evacuations elsewhere too.

The quake struck 40km north of Bologna and 60km east of Parma, at a depth of 9.6km (six miles), Reuters reports.

The 20 May quake destroyed many centuries-old buildings of cultural value. It was the worst to hit Italy since the L'Aquila tremor that killed nearly 300 people in 2009.

About 7,000 people who fled that quake are still living in dozens of tented camps erected in public spaces, AFP news agency reports. There have been many tremors in the region since that quake.

Comment by bill on May 22, 2012 at 10:58pm

WHY ITALY'S EARTHQUAKE WAS WEIRD

The powerful shaking was a first for the region in centuries — and fairly surprising to seismologists.

THE GIST

  • The magnitude 6.0 quake was a thrust quake, yet it occurred at a depth of just 3 miles (5 kilometers).
  • The quake hit about 470 miles (750 km) north of the plate boundary.

A strong and unusually shallow earthquake struck northern Italy over the weekend, fracturing pavement, sending torrents of brick and rubble raining down from buildings, and killing seven people. The powerful shaking was a first for the region in centuries — and fairly surprising to seismologists.

ANALYSIS: Cultural Treasures Crushed In Italy Quake

Data indicate the magnitude 6.0 quake, which struck just after 4 a.m. local time on Sunday (May 20), just north of Bologna, was a thrust quake — the type of earthquake caused when two tectonic plates smash together — yet it occurred at a depth of just 3 miles (5 kilometers).

"It is kind of surprising that it's that shallow, because it's pretty far from the plate boundary," said Paul Caruso, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey. "Normally we expect things to get deeper as they move northward," he told OurAmazingPlanet.

Shallow shaking

The quake hit about 470 miles (750 km) north of the plate boundary — the place where the two colliding plates meet — which runs along the sole of Italy's "boot."

It is here that the African plate is plowing slowly northward, crashing into the Eurasian plate.

Caruso explained that the shallower a quake, the more damage it can cause. "If a quake is 500 kilometers deep, and you're right on top of it, you're going to feel it a lot less strongly than if it's 5 kilometers deep," he said. "As the seismic energy moves through the ground some of it is dissipated."

ANALYSIS: Earth Moved - Why No Big Tsunami?

The strong quake rocked an area with a long history of earthquakes, yet one that has kept relatively quiet for hundreds of years.

"There has not been a whole lot of action in that area," Caruso said. "The fact that they do have records of earthquakes going back a couple thousand years shows this area hasn't been seismically active for a long time," he said.

Thousands of people were displaced by the quake, and many people spent the night in tents hurriedly erected on soccer fields.

L'Aquila and aftershocks

The most powerful quake to hit Italy in decades occurred in 2009, in central Italy, near Rome. The 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck the medieval city of L'Aquila, killing close to 300 people and causing widespread damage.

After that earthquake, Italian officials put several Italian scientists on trial for manslaughter for not providing better warnings ahead of the deadly shaking, a move that has caused an outcry in the international scientific community.

The two Italian quakes were caused by different geological mechanisms. The L'Aquila earthquake was caused when massive rock faces jerked away from one another, where as the recent earthquake was caused by their collision.

Several aftershocks have rocked the affected region, and it's not clear if this recent earthquake is a harbinger of things to come.

"We don't know if this is going to trigger more activity in this area or not," Caruso said. "We would expect to see aftershocks in the area for a while." There have already been at least 100 aftershocks. (Video: How Earthquakes Lead To Aftershocks)

The shaking could continue for weeks or months, he said.

Comment by bill on May 21, 2012 at 12:15pm

Italian earthquake leaves thousands homeless

Thousands of people have been left homeless after a power earthquake struck in the north of Italy.

The magnitude six tremor hit the city of Bologna on Sunday damaging churches and a medieval castle.

So far seven people are thought to have died after the buildings they were working in collapsed.

Hundreds of people in one town had to spend the night in tents on the local football pitch after their homes were destroyed.

Comment by bill on May 21, 2012 at 10:45am
May 21, 2012 10:20am
Residents of the small Italian town may have all survived, but the strong earthquake that shook San Felice sul Panaro to its foundations early on Sunday reduced its artistic and architectural riches to rubble and dust.
San Felice's three main churches were in ruins and the town's trademark Castle, La Rocca, was standing but wounded, perhaps fatally, by the 6.0 magnitude quake.

"It's indescribable. There's a lot of pain. La Rocca was our pride and joy," resident Manuela Monelli said as she cast a mournful eye over what was left of the castle.

"And to think that we had been told that this was not a seismic area," she said.

The damage done to Italy's artistic heritage was the greatest since a 1997 earthquake hit the central Umbria region and parts of the ceiling of the Basilica of St Francis in Assisi collapsed.

Started in 1332 by the Este family and enlarged in the following century, La Rocca housed a museum and was the town's main tourist draw.

Only one of the castle's four towers was left standing and a wide V-shaped crack in its brickwork suggested it too might fall, particularly as aftershocks continued, two of them as strong as magnitude 5.1.

"If it doesn't come down by itself they'll have to pull it down," Monelli said.

"It is the symbol of our town," said mayor Alberto Silvestri. "We have practically lost all our artistic heritage. Churches and towers collapsed. The theatre is still standing but has cracks."

One church in San Felice, known as the Church of the Archpriest, practically imploded and is now only half its previous height.

"We are thankful there were no casualties," said Simone Silvestri, a city council member, looking at the church surrounded by a sea of rubble.

Among the art works in the church, and presumably destroyed or severely damaged, was a triptych painted on wood by 16th century artist Bernardino Loschi depicting the Madonna, St Geminiano and St Felice.

Paintings from the 18th and 19th centuries used to adorn the sacristy.

In the nearby town of Finale Emilia, a section of San Carlo church collapsed. It contained a painting by 17th century artist Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, who was known as Il Guercino.

Despite the damage to religious art in churches in Sunday's quake, there was a sigh of relief throughout the area that it did not strike hours later, when the places of worship would have been full.

"Our school children were to receive their first communion here this morning," said a priest in the nearby city of Mirandola, where the roof of the cathedral collapsed.

"If it had happened then, it would have been a disaster." - Reuters
Comment by Howard on May 21, 2012 at 4:04am

Thousands of survivors huddled in tents or in their cars under rainy skies early Monday following a weekend earthquake.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-18140543 -

Magnitude 6.0 Magnitude / Intensity Comparison :

"Damage negligible in buildings of good design and construction; slight to moderate in well-built ordinary structures; considerable damage in poorly built or badly designed structures; some chimneys broken."

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsww/Quakes/usb0009tk...

Comment by KM on May 21, 2012 at 12:14am

Even the journalist who is commenting on the video questions the 5.9 by saying the damage is somewhat extensive. 

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