Enough Earthquakes

If I were superstitious, I would say that Poseidon had a beef with Central Italy this year. You’ll remember the 6.0 earthquake that hit Amatrice in August, completely leveling it, and followed by very large aftershocks. A few days ago we had two seperate 5.5 and 6.1 earthquakes, both in the same general area, and both with their own significant aftershocks.

And now, this morning, the same area of Italy was hit with the largest earthquake since 1976, a 6.6 blowout 7km from Norcia that managed to shut down the Rome metro service, cause damage on both coasts, and level another handful of towns.

Unfortunately, this problem is not going to be resolved by burning half a cow in honor of Poseidon. In reality, Geologists tell us that we can only expect more of these kinds of earthquakes in the future, given how the tectonic plates are shifting under Italy right now. So, be prepared for a fierce battle going forward: How do we update our ancient and medieval treasures without making them ugly, and how do we pay for that, given the sheer number of artefacts to preserve and Italy’s massive debt? We simply can’t. On the other hand, if we don’t, we’re probably not going to have any left very soon, and thousands more will die for being in close proximity to pretty much any one of 80% of the buildings in Central Italy when the next inevitable earthquake hits.

To think I only just found out about it as my Grandmother started her Happy Birthday phone call to me with the phrase “we’re all fine, by the way”.

So, in light of that, I have a few more phone calls to make. More posts to follow.


  1. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Well, shit. I felt it this morning (in Zagreb) and it sounded like bad news when mom found it happened 190km from Pula (Pola) – we were looking online immediately after it happened, so we only found news on official meteorological pages. Considering how much I felt it ,I didn’t want to imagine how it was in the epicenter.

  2. StevoR says

    I wonder if maybe seismologists will soon(?) be better able to predict which way the fault is unzipping and be able to increasingly accurately determine where the next quake will be (epi-)centred? If advance warning is more possible then evacuations of people and treasures could perhaps be arranged? Or whether like weather, this will also be too random and chaos-theory affected to determine? Mind you, weather forecasts have improved over time so..

    Unfortunately, this problem is not going to be resolved by burning half a cow in honor of Poseidon.

    Fortunate for the cow OTOH, although not much solace. Also only half a cow?!

    PS. Glad your family is okay and happy birthday from me too. Hope you have /have had a good one and have many more great days to come.

    • thoughtsofcrys says

      This recent earthquake actually had no fatalities (as of yet), precisely because they had evacuated large areas, and because it happened in the morning when many people were out and about their business. However, you can’t evacuate a basilica, or a medieval church, or an ancient Roman temple, or an old bridge. Italy has more UNESCO world heritage sites than any other country in the world, and some are entire towns. You can see my post and pictures of Civita di Bagnoregio (which was also damaged in this quake) to see what I mean when I say that simple prediction and evacuation will not suffice to protect everything we have, we actually need to invest enormous amounts of money to fortify these national treasures, unless we want to destroy Italy’s charm and just build modern skyscrapers everywhere instead.

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