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Earthquakes reported in Italy


Earthquakes in Italy

Several minor earthquakes have been registered in many different parts of Italy during the last week of January. The areas affected were: Pianura padana, Prealpi Venente, Parma, Costa Toscana nord, Ascoli, Adriatico, Foggia, Calabria, Pollino, Trento, Milano, Torino, Genova, Verona, Venezia, Regio Emilia, Bologna, Pisa e Firenze.

After the earthquake of L’Aquila in 2009 Italy has entered a new period of seismic activity. The stronger earthquakes registered in the north of Italy have had an increasing intensity ranging from 4.3 degrees Richter scale to 5.4 (the most violent earthquake recorded after the one at L'Aquila, with a magnitude of 6.3). According to the seismologists the earthquakes were not connected to each other but they were caused by the same reason: the pushing of the Adriatic plate under the Apennine and the Alps.

According to data released by the house of representatives the high seismic risk affects almost 50% of the national territory and 38% of inhabited areas. In these high risk areas live 3 million Italians and there are 6.3 million buildings, of which 28 thousand schools and 2,188 hospitals. According to an evaluation of the Civil Protection of 2009, 500 of these buildings would need interventions to be made safe. The other dates available are not much more reassuring because the schools built with seismic criteria in high-risk areas are just 10% while 64% of buildings are constructed without complying with earthquake safety standards.

The seismic hazard map of Italy is processed by INGV (Istituto nazionale di geofisica e vulcanologia). These maps indicate how likely it is that an earthquake will occur in the whole area of Italy, but the peninsula is considered as a single block of rock, without taking into account the geological constitution of the territory.

After the disastrous earthquake of L’Aquila in 2009 the need for a new seismic hazard map began to be urgent. Geologists and seismologists are working on a new map which will take into account the type of land by studying the geology, history, the presence of landfalls or for example the proximity of a river. It will take another few years, but soon a more detailed and reliable map of vulnerability should be ready.

Giulia Lombardo

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