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At 3:32 local time, when everybody was asleep, a shock rated 5.8 on the Richter scale - 6.3 on the moment magnitude scale - destroyed L'Aquila, the quaint capital of the Abruzzo region, and many of the surrounding villages. It was preceeded by several foreshocks and many aftershocks. 309 people are known to have died, 1,600 were injured, 65,000 became homeless.

Italy's position on two fault lines makes it one of the most unstable earthquake areas in Europe. Unfortunately, L'Aquila, a medieval jewel, is built on the bed of an ancient lake, a soil that amplifies seismic waves. The city was struck by earthquakes in 1315, 1349, 1452, 1501, 1646, 1703, and 1706. The earthquake of February 1703 largely destroyed the city and killed about 5,000 people. The center of L’Aquila, four years after the 2009 earthquake, is a ghost town only inhabited by severely fractured buildings, scarred streets, rubble, unfinished reconstructions.

An Italian geologist predicted the earthquake but he was reported to the police for scaremongering. Afterwards, seven members of the Italian National Commission for the Forecast and Prevention of Major Risks were accused of giving "inexact, incomplete and contradictory" information about the danger of the tremors prior to the main quake. On 22 October 2012, they were convicted of multiple manslaughter for offering unreasonable reassurances that no earthquake would come, each sentenced to six years' imprisonment, a verdict that caused an enraged reaction from the world's scientific community.






L'Aquila, Abruzzo, Italy. A goverment's office disrupted by the 2009 earthquake ('Aquila_earthquake )


7 May 2009


Transferred from it.wikipedia; transferred to Commons by User:Insilvis


Original uploader was TheWiz83 at it.wikipedia

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