2016-08-24 11:22:00

Seismologist on Italy quake impact

(Vatican Radio) Emergency services are on the scene following an earthquake which struck central Italy in the early hours of Wednesday morning. They arrived with earth-moving equipment and sniffer dogs in order to locate people trapped in the rubble of collapsed buildings.

The quake measured 6.2 on the Richter scale.

Italy sits on two fault lines, making it one of the most seismically active countries in Europe.

Dr Roger Musson is a seismologist at the British Geological Survey. He spoke to Lydia O’Kane about quake and it’s impact.


“It’s not a great earthquake in world terms”, said Dr Musson but the impact of an earthquake is not just a function of the magnitude, it’s a function of where it occurs and also the depth and this earthquake has occurred in a populated area of Italy; it occurred at a very shallow depth… and that means that a lot of people are exposed to strong shaking so the consequences can be quite severe.”

Speaking about the aftershocks that can occur follow a quake, the seismologist described how, “aftershocks punch above their weight because the main shock damages a lot of buildings and leaves them in a weakened state so that they’re tottering and an aftershock even at a moderate magnitude just finishes the buildings off that have already been weakened.”

As well as being felt in Rome, Dr Musson said that this earthquake was also felt in other European countries including Austria, Slovenia and Croatia.

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