Strong 6.2 Earthquake Hits Central Italy, Mayor Says ‘The Town Isn’t Here Anymore’

August 24, 2016 – Rome

A magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck central Italy near the city of Norcia, with reports of falling buildings and people trapped in the rubble. The earthquake struck at 3:36 in the early morning at a shallow depth of 10 km. There is an unconfirmed report of at least 2 casualties.

Map of Italy showing the epicenter near the town of Amatrice

Map of Italy showing the epicenter near the town of Amatrice

Image Credit: USGS

Speaking to the Associated Press, the mayor of a nearby town Amatrice says “the town isn’t here anymore”, fearing hundreds of residents trapped in the debris.

The USGS has placed the shaking intensity at VIII on the ShakeMap, indicating ‘Severe’ shaking. The capital Rome, some 140 km away from the epicenter was exposed to ‘Strong’ shaking where the buildings are reported to have rattled for 20 seconds. “Pretty sure I was just woken up by an earthquake in Rome. I thought someone snuck into my hotel room & was jumping on the bed. Both scary!”, Sarah Conrad writes on Twitter.

According to USGS, the region falls in the Apennines mountain range under complex geological system. The system is subjected to both subduction of Adria plate and continental collision between the massive Eurasian and African tectonic plates. The Eurasian plate slides approximately 24mm a year in respect to the African plate, causing stress and releasing it with earthquakes. In April 2009, a M6.3 earthquake struck the same region killing more than 295.

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