We got up this morning with the terrible news from Italy, where last night an earthquake affected significantly the location of L’Aquila in the Central Apennines region resulting in more than 90 killed (so far, at 14.00 GMT, and surely the number will increase in the next hours).
The Apennines are an accretionary wedge formed as consequence of the subduction of the Adriatic microplates under Italy from east to west, whilst from the south to the north the convergence of Africa against Europe builds the Alpine orogen and opening the Tyrrhenian sea to the west of the Italic peninsula.
I won’t extend much in this entry; you can read better and more updated information in the news:
Sadly an Italian geophysicist predicted the event –kind of–. We cannot rely on predictions. We cannot expect –yet– to trust correlations between indirect measurements and seismic phenomena. What we can do?
What we can do as geologist is help the authorities educating people, promoting the knowledge of geohazards and how to behave in the case of an Earthquake. Authorities have in their hands the power of approve correct standards for construction. A 6.3 earthquake shouldn’t have caused any fatality in a rich country like Italy. Why it has been like that? Seismicity in the Central Apennines is not new. Historic earthquakes include the one of 1997 (Mw 6.0) which includen in a period of 2 months several M5.0 events (the Umbria-Marche seimic sequence).
Our support to the people in despair for this earthquake.
(Later I will update this article with some images and corrections... I am sending this from my email!)