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L’Aquila, Italy Earthquake, 4 April 2009

The Society’s Learning From Earthquakes Programme is watching develoments arising from the 6.3-magnitude earthquake close to L’Aquila, Italy. This page provides details and links to information that may be useful for NZSEE members.

As for all destructive earthquakes, The Society is concerned for the safety and well being of the survivors.

Technical Details

The USGS Earthquake Summary Poster provides an overview of the earthquake. They also provide summary details.

The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre have details of the main shock, links to some reports, information about the regional seismicity and testemonies from locals.

The National Institute of Geophysics and Vulcanology also have details (in Italian, with some English translations).

The ReliefWeb global hub provides time-critical humanitarian information on Complex Emergencies and Natural Disasters.

There are unverified reports of collapsed post-1970 buildings, including a relatively new regional hospital (prompting a request for assistance provisioning a portable hospital), student accommodation and a hotel in adition to the historic buildings reported in the news media. There are also reports of road and rail closures.

BBC News initially reported “At least 150 people are believed dead and tens of thousands homeless after an earthquake hit L’Aquila and other towns in central Italy, rescuers say.”

The EERI have sent a study team who are reporting regularly to their web clearing house.

An team from Degenkolb Engineers, San Francisco, have a blog with photographs and commentary. (And a personal blog.)


Italian members of the NZSEE have received reports that the on-site response was very prompt because the Civil Defence were on alert after a declaration by a CNR scientist who sent an alarming prediction of a an earthquake to occur at the end of March based on seiemic activity in the past month and high levels of radon detected using a special device he invented.

The Commission of Significant Risk (Comissioni Grandi Rischi) was gathered by the goivernment in L’Aquila only days ago to confirm that the situation was under control and there is still no scientific way to predict when an earthquake would come … even though it was only a question of plus minus one week (see Time and CNN articles for more details)!

The major Italian Research Groups are already on the spot or gearing up to go within the next few days.

Professors and Investigators within the Italian Research Laboratory Network are supporting squads of engineers conducting building safety inspections.

The University of Genoa’ and several other teams will soon survey churches and historcial monuments as they have in the past.

The Society’s LFE Programme is watching develoments as a consequence of this earthquake in Italy.

In July or August the NZSEE will consider sending a small Learning From Earthquakes team to explore specific aspects.