According to the Reuters news service, a 6.0 earthquake occurred in Northern Italy about six hours ago. Thus far, there have been determined to be at least seven deaths, and Silvio Belusconi has rescheduled a G8 function, in order to be available to the people near the quake area. This quake occurred overnight, and would no doubt have caused more deaths had it occurred during the day. The predominance of those who died, were factory workers who were working overnight and who died when the factory collapsed. There is significant damage to some areas. A medieval castle was badly damaged. The epicenter of the quake, was near Modena in the Emilia-Romagna region of the Po River Valley, and the tremor was felt as far west as Liguria, bordering France, and the Friuli region bordering Slovenia. In San Felice Sul Panaro, not only was the Estense Castle from the fourteenth century damaged, but numerous churches there were as well. The quake may have killed and injured more people had it not been at 4 am, their time. Other sources are now saying that at least fifty people have been severely injured. There was a pre-shock, and this region is experiencing aftershocks also.
Although Italy does experience periodic quakes, they are generally smaller than this. Magnitude alone does not determine the level of damage from an earthquake. The depth of the epicenter and what is built there often helps to determine the degree of damage, along with what happens to be built in the area of the epicenter itself. Today our thoughts are with the Italian people, especially those near Modena, Bologna, and especially those who have lost family in this quake and the quake aftermath. The quake was also felt as far as Tuscany.
For the rest of us, it is again time to assess our quake plans, and go room to room, making sure that anything which could fall on a vulnerable person particularly a child, is secured. Remember that bookcases on walls must never be above the head of a bed, for example.
|Damage in this quake. (Photo: BBC)|
|Reports of people feeling this quake are far and wide, and are marked on this map. (Map: Lalate News)|