On Sunday Italy was hit with what was the country’s third earthquake within a month, and it was the most powerful one yet. The 6.5 or 6.6 earthquake was actually the largest to hit Italy since 1980, and it has been followed by 50 to hundreds of aftershocks, many of which have been quite large.
Luckily most of the towns in the area where the earthquake hit had already been evacuated since seismic activity had already been reported, but 20 people were injured. It has been estimated that 3,000 people in the town of Amatrice will be left without homes after the massive building damage, and those numbers are growing when other towns are being considered as well.
Italy recently had some earthquake in August, and according to Paolo Messina, the director of the Institute of Environmental Geology and Geoengineering at Italy’s National Research Council, Sunday’s earthquake was linked to those ones.
“It’s a complex situation, where a fault is breaking in sections.”
On one hand, having many different earthquakes is good “because if it occurred all at once the magnitude would be much higher. At the same time, it is causing terrible damage. We don’t know how much energy has accumulated in this fault over the centuries, so we don’t know how much needs to be discharged.”