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The events of April, 7th affected mainly the area around the L'Aquila and its south-eastern surroundings (Onna, Fossa, Ocre), whereas those of April, 9th were localized mainly in the north of L'Aquila, towards Barete, Pizzoli, Campotosto.
The distribution of replies in the map shows very well the area affected by seismic sequence, which extends about 25 km in NorthWest-Southeast direction, parallel to the Apennine chain. The strongest aftershock, detected at 19:47 on April, 7th, has affected the southern sector of the area, close to San Martino d'Ocre, Fossa, San Felice d'Ocre, where were detected aftershocks smaller than the ones of April, 7th. The event of April 9th (Ml = 5.1) is located further north along a more limited extent.
The fault responsible of the main shock is approximately 15 Km. long and shows an immersion from North East towards South West. L'Aquila results to be located exactly above the fault.
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Italy Appeals for International Assistance to Restore Destroyed Monuments
L'AQUILA, Italy — Italy appealed Thursday for international assistance to restore historic churches, palazzi and other monuments damaged by this week's earthquake, warning it will take years and millions of dollars to repair the treasures, if they can be saved at all.
Some $39.82 million is necessary for early operations alone, such as securing the buildings, Giuseppe Proietti, the secretary-general of Italy's Culture Ministry, told The Associated Press.
The 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck the medieval city of L'Aquila and several other towns in central Italy Monday, leveling buildings and reducing entire blocks to piles of rubble. Many Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance landmarks were damaged, and on Wednesday, teams began inspecting the wreckage.
Proietti said public and private institutions in a number of countries, including Germany and France, have already contacted Italian officials with offers of help. Australians with ancestors from the quake-hit region have pledged assistance, as have universities and other institutions in Italy.
Premier Silvio Berlusconi has suggested that the United States could help as well.
While Proietti said Italy was mainly seeking funding for Italian restorers to do the work, the Vatican has appealed to experts worldwide to volunteer to restore paintings and other treasures from the damaged sites.
Steve Connor: Deadly fault lines that run down the spine of Italy
This region of Italy has a long history of earthquakes dating from long before classical times. It is one of the most seismically active regions of Europe, essentially due to the collision of the tectonic plates of Africa and Europe which pushed up the Apennine mountain range, the geological "backbone" of Italy.
The boundary between the African and European plates is particularly complex in this part of the Mediterranean, and the mountain-building process that created the Apennines has been an active feature of the region's geology and history for millions of years.
Italy is riddled with geological faults, and yesterday's earthquake near L'Aquila in the Abruzzo region, with a magnitude of 5.8 according to Italy's National Institute of Geophysics and 6.3 according to the U.S. Geological Survey, probably was caused by a sudden movement in one of them as a result of the gradual sinking of the Apennines under the force of gravity.
"It is only relatively recently that the Apennines were created by being pushed up by tectonic forces, and now they are in the process of collapsing quite rapidly," said Professor Bob Holdsworth, of Durham University, who has studied the area. "The evidence for these earthquakes is everywhere in Italian life, ranging from cataclysmic events recorded throughout history, through to the cliff-like fault scarps across the landscape."
The British Geological Survey said the earthquake's epicentre was close to the town of L'Aquila, about 60 miles north-east of Rome. The earthquake was just 87 miles north-west of a magnitude 5.9 tremor which struck the village of San Giuliano di Puglia on 31 October 2002, killing 28 people. One of the worst recorded earthquakes in the region was in Avezzano in 1915, just 25 miles south of yesterday's quake; that killed 30,000 people.
John Whalley, principal lecturer in earth sciences at Portsmouth University, said there is a belt of seismic activity running parallel to the Apennines down the entire length of the Italian peninsula. "These mountains form part of the major tectonic plate boundary marking the collision zone between the African and European plates," Dr Whalley said. "This collision dominated the geological evolution of southern Europe for most of the past 50 million years and formed the Alps. Though we speak of a collision between two major plates, the collision zone is extremely complex with numerous microplates being trapped as the intervening ocean closed.
"As a consequence of this complexity, the Apennines run almost at right angles to the main trend of the Alps, having been formed when the western half of Italy was pushed over the top of the eastern half. Although the primary west-to-east motion has largely ceased, the area remains extremely unstable."
Dr Whalley said that a study in 2005 found that the town of L'Aquila was built on the bed of an ancient lake which may have amplified the vibrations of the quake, causing even more damage to buildings at the surface. "A magnitude 6.3 earthquake will nearly always be strong enough to cause significant damage but [the study] highlighted an increased risk in this area. The authors showed that the city was underlain by weak sediments, up to 820ft thick, which had accumulated in an ancient lake."
David Rothery, a senior lecturer in earth science at the Open University, said: "A magnitude 6 quake in the same region in 1997 took 11 lives and destroyed 80,000 homes. The latest quake was moderately large but more significantly shallow – its depth is preliminarily estimated at only six miles – so the shaking it caused at the surface was large. I expect the death toll will rise. Italian colleagues who arrived today from Rome and Padova felt the quake for themselves. Fabrizio, my colleague from Rome, was already awake, and, according to him, his house shook for 20 seconds."
Roger Musson, of the British Geological Survey in Edinburgh, said routine earthquake prediction is not possible anywhere and, that given the chaotic nature of earthquake occurrence, it may never be possible. "In the case of the L'Aquila earthquake, some warning might have been taken by the series of foreshocks that preceded it," he said. "But there is no way to discriminate between foreshocks and normal small-magnitude seismicity, other than with hindsight. Aftershock activity has been intense. The possibility of a further event of similar magnitude cannot be ruled out."
More than 100 people in the Abruzzo region were crushed when their homes collapsed. Enzo Boschi, the chairman of Italy's National Institute for Geophysics and Volcanology in Bologna, said: "The damage involved buildings which were not built to withstand a quake that was not even particularly strong. It is always distressing to note that we do not have the mentality to build adequate structures in areas at risk of seismic activity. In other words, we don't construct buildings to withstand quakes nor do we revamp old ones to make them safe from collapse.
"We have detailed maps which indicate the areas most at risk of earthquakes and we have also indicated what actions are needed to make buildings safe. But little or nothing has been done."
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Italian quake turns bucolic town into ghostly ruin
ONNA, Italy (Reuters) - It took only a few minutes to turn this tranquil town of farmers and artisans into a desolate spectacle of horses and hens wandering aimlessly amid a tangle of stone and steel.
After 1,000 years of being called home, Onna was no more.
The earthquake that struck central Italy on Monday killed about 40 residents, or 13 percent of the population, making it one of the towns worst hit. Firemen said 90 percent of houses -- or what's left of them -- will have to be razed to the ground.
"The most spectacular thing about the quake was not even the impact but just the sound of the entire town crumbling around us," said Paolo Ferroni, 60, who managed to escape with his wife but is now homeless.
His son, who lived nearby, escaped by tying sheets together and lowering himself from his apartment window, he said.
"See this house here right next to mine? One woman died there. There, two houses down, another person died. And there next to it, three people died. And there, see that heap in the field? 50 sheep died there," he said, pointing to a row of wrecked houses and a plot of land in front.
The few residents still around the deserted town each had a story of terror to tell and could count relatives who perished. The national death toll rose to 250 on Wednesday. About 17,000 people have been made homeless.
"We were sleeping, and out of nowhere came a loud roar," said Virgilio Colajani, 70. "I ran out and there was a woman over 90 standing on her balcony yelling 'Help, help' while her helper begged for a ladder. Another man was on his knees in the darkness, going through a little book with a light, searching for the phone number of his son. His wife died."
On the 23rd of October 2007 international researchers, politicians and entrepreneurs coming from United States, Canada, Korea, India and New Zealand were all gathered in Miki, a small Japanese town that houses the National Research Institute of Earth Science and Disaster Prevention, the most important anti-seismic laboratory, where a seven-storey building – 23.5 meters of height – survived Kobe’s earthquake simulation. For the first time since 1995, when a devastating earthquake, known as “Great Haushin-Awaji”, shaked an entire village in Kobe and caused nearly six thousand victims, a wooden structure successfully survived such a blast.
Yoshimitsu Okada, one of the leading ant-seismic experts, applauded Italy’s project, called “SOFIE”, claiming that it is an innovation destined to change worldwide building techniques.
Italy is riddled with geological faults, and yesterday's earthquake near L'Aquila in the Abruzzo region, with a magnitude
of 5.8 according to Italy's National Institute of Geophysics and 6.3 according to the U.S. Geological Survey
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Italy Quake Reconstruction to Cost at Least $16 Billion
ROME — The region in central Italy ravaged by an earthquake more than a week ago will need at least $16 billion for rebuilding, the country's interior minister said.
As some children started going back to school, experts were assessing the damage at buildings that were still standing. Prosecutors were investigating alleged shoddy construction in the area.
Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said the government would consult with local administrators, including opposition officials, while it seeks resources to rebuild the Abruzzo region. Maroni provided the estimate late Tuesday on state television.