6.0 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Northern Italy
A strong earthquake rocked a large swathe of northern Italy early on Sunday, killing at least four people, injuring dozens and seriously damaging historic buildings such as churches, bell towers and a medieval castle. The 6.0-magnitude quake was centered 22 miles north-northwest of Bologna in northern Italy at a relatively shallow depth of 6.3 miles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey website. It struck at about 4 a.m. local time and was followed about an hour later by one of 5.1 magnitude thet causded more damage and more buildings to collapse, officials and witnesses said.
“I ran out in my underwear,” one man told Italian television. The epicenter of the quake, the strongest to hit Italy in three years, was in the plains near Modena in the Emilia-Romagna region of the Po river valley, and the tremor was felt as far west as Liguria, bordering France, and the Friuli region bordering Slovenia. There was serious damage to historic buildings and churches in the provinces of Modena and Ferrara, and the quake also shook major towns such as Bologna, Rovigo, Verona and Mantua.
A series of strong aftershocks hit the area, the strongest measuring 5.1, and local mayors ordered residents to stay in the open. The last major quake to hit Italy was a 6.3 magnitude quake in the central city of L’Aquila in 2009, which killed nearly 300 people. After that quake, then Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi moved a G8 meeting that was to have been held in Sardinia to near L’Aquila in a show of solidarity with the victims.