Italy’s experts warn of more quakes

October 29, 2016 9:23 am
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A firefighter stands in front of the collapsed bell tower of the Santa Maria in Via church in the “red zone”, in Camerino, where 80 per cent of the houses have been left uninhabitable after two earthquakes hit the region © AFP / Alberto Pizzoli

, ROME, Oct 29 – Italy’s major risks commission cautioned Friday that there may be more powerful earthquakes to come following two this week in the country’s mountainous centre and a deadly one in August.

“There is no current evidence that the (seismic) sequence underway is coming to an end,” it warned.

The National Commission for the Forecast and Prevention of Major Risks (CGR) said that in the wake of the August 24 quake that killed nearly 300 people it had identified three areas at risk for further seismic activity.

The areas were “adjoining the fault responsible” for the disaster which levelled entire villages, it said in a statement referring to the fracture in the earth’s crust where quakes can occur.

They were areas “which have not seen recent, large earthquakes and could produce high-magnitude quakes (6-7)”, it added.

Wednesday’s quakes (5.5 and 6.1 magnitude) “activated one of the areas identified by the commission, to the north of the August quake, while the other two did not move,” it said.

Those that did not move, both in the central Appenines, “represent possibile sources of future earthquakes in the region”.

In particular, the commission said it “cannot rule out the continuation of seismic activity to the north of the Vettore-Bove,” referring to Mount Vettore and Mount Bove on the border between the Umbria and Marche regions.

It described the earthquakes, which Wednesday brought down houses but left the local populations largely unscathed, to be typical of those in the Apennines, and warned history shows very strong quakes can follow each other here even months apart.

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