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Terremoti in Italia

Fear was back to L’Aquila as an earthquake with a magnitude of 3.7 was recorded a few days ago near L'Aquila without any damage for the population. Frightened by the duration of this earthquake, many people took to the streets remembering the tragic moments of the April 6, 2009, which caused 308 victims, more than 1,500 injured and more than 10 billion Euros in estimated damage. Many decided to sleep in their cars despite the bitter cold. Many others decided to go to relatives or friends who live in housing units, leaving their old homes. The fire department and the Police were besieged by people seeking advice on what to do.

In 2500 years, Italy has been affected by more than 30,000 earthquakes of medium and high intensity (higher than the 4-5 on the Mercalli scale) and about 560 earthquakes of intensity greater than or equal to 8 on the Mercalli scale (an average of one every four and a half years). Only in the twentieth century, as many as 7 earthquakes had a magnitude equal to or greater than 6.5 (with effects ranging between the tenth and eleventh grade Mercalli). The highest seismicity is concentrated in the south central part of the peninsula - along the Apennines (Val di Magra, Mugello, the Tiber Valley, Val Nerina, Aquilano, Fucino, Liri Valley, Benevento, Irpinia) - in Calabria and Sicily, and in some northern areas, including the Friuli, the Veneto and Liguria west. Only Sardinia is not particularly affected by earthquakes.

Italy can be considered one of the countries with the highest seismic risk in the Mediterranean because of the frequency of earthquakes that have historically affected its territory and the intensity that some of them have reached, resulting in an important economic and social impact. The seismicity of the Italian peninsula is due to its geographical location, because it is situated in the area of convergence between the African plate and the Eurasian and is subject to strong compressive forces. The earthquakes that have struck the Peninsula have caused considerable economic damage, assessed for the last forty years in about 135 billion Euros, which were used for the rehabilitation and reconstruction. To this must be added the consequences and the damage to the monumental, artistic and historical treasures of the country.

In Italy, the damage caused by earthquakes is much higher compared to what normally occurs in other countries with high seismicity, such as America (California)
or Japan.

For example, the 1997 earthquake in Umbria and the Marches produced a huge quantity of damage (homeless: 32,000; economic damage: about 10 billion Euros)
compared with that of California in 1989 (14.5 billion U.S. dollars), even though it had an energy 30 times lower. This is mainly due to the density of
the population and the fragility of the Italian heritage.


Giulia Lombardo

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