03 September 2007



Italy is a country with a lot of mountains. Many people have a view of ancient cities and rolling hills but the Apennine Mountains run the length of the peninsula from top to bottom. Where there are mountains there will be earthquakes and Italy certainly has a history of earthquakes. There have been many over the history of this peninsula that have devastated entire towns.

The area around Ascoli Piceno has earthquakes, or terremotti, rather frequently. By that I mean we have felt probably seven since we moved here last September, including one last week. By chance it seems that many occur during the night but there have been a few during daylight hours. We have not seen or heard of any damage from these but you can see damage to buildings from past events throughout the region. The ones we have experienced have registered around 2.0 on the Richter scale, which is considered minor.

Having a degree in geology I am familiar with the mechanisms of earthquakes and also experienced the devastation that an earthquake can cause while helping people put their lives back together in Los Angeles after the Northridge Earthquake of February 1992. Here in Ascoli Piceno terremotti are just a part of the daily life.

The Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia has a good website where you can see where earthquakes have occurred as well as their magnitude. The graphics are good enough that no knowledge of Italian is required to figure out where there are earthquakes in Italy and how severe they have been.

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