«Rome does not have a high level of danger for the earthquakes, but it has a high risk for a peculiar vulnerability ».
Carlo Doglioni, is the president ofNational Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology and full professor of Geodynamics at the Sapienza University.
Is the earthquake of the other day, with its epicenter in the province of L'Aquila, connected to the shocks of 2016 and 2017?
«An earthquake of magnitude 4 to 5 is defined as light, as energy is very small. With that of 6.5 of magnitude on 30 October 2016 there is a difference, in terms of energy released, of over a thousand times. And the shock of the other day has nothing to do with that of 2016. It is a completely different structure, in the Roveto Valley, slightly further west of the Piana del Fucino where in 1915 there was one of the most catastrophic Italian earthquakes, with 30 thousand dead. It was January 13 and with the Lazio Region we decided to dedicate that date to the earthquake memorial day, so that the youngest may be aware that Italy is a country at risk of earthquakes ".
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Should we worry because the earthquake on Thursday was in the same area?
"No, it's a slightly westerly structure. It is a sequence that we must not underestimate: it is an area in which for several centuries there have been no major earthquakes. So it is among those in Italy with more danger. The nearest earthquake in that area is in 1654, it was of magnitude, obviously estimated, of 6.4. Let's talk about Abruzzo and Frusinate. Add to this the effects of local amplification. The countries built on alluvial deposits have phenomena of amplification of the waves that make the earthquake more destructive ".
When an earthquake is felt in Rome there is always a higher attention, making those who live in other regions angry. But it is true that in the last few years in the capital, there has been more shock than in the past. Something is changing? Is there a higher sensitivity?
"Both statements are true. And there is another fact: in the last twenty years there have been more earthquakes than in the previous ones. Unfortunately, earthquakes sometimes arrive in clusters. Think of Umbria-Marche 97-98, Molise 2002, L'Aquila, 2009, Emilia 2012, Amatrice-Norcia-Casamicciola 2016-2017, Molise 2018. But take into account that at the beginning of the last century they concentrated mainly on the south, do you think to Calabria ».
Many of the recent earthquakes have occurred near Rome. Why are they concentrating in central Italy?
«Nature takes its course. The Apennine expands, 4-5 millimeters per year. It is the tearing of a fabric that gradually spreads ».
Many neighborhoods in Rome are also built on alluvial soils and suffer an amplification of the effect of seismic shocks. What should this teach us?
"Even Rome had major earthquakes in its history: 443 after Christ, it is thought that a part of the Colosseum collapsed on that occasion. And then in 1349. However, the seismic hazard of Rome is lower than that of the axial zone of the Apennines. Even in the capital, as in the rest of the country, first of all, it is right that every citizen asks himself if his house is earthquake-proof. Throughout Italy it is necessary to build so that the houses remain habitable even after an earthquake. And Rome has a not high seismic hazard, but has a high exposure, amplification and vulnerability. For this reason prevention is important ".
Last updated: 08:04
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