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L’Aquila and Central Italy Struck by Earthquake – UPDATE

April 6th, 2009 Category: Earthquakes

Rome and L'Aquila, Italy - April 5th, 2009

Rome and L'Aquila, Italy - April 5th, 2009

Collapsed building, L'Aquila, Italy - April 6th, 2009 ©AP

Collapsed building, L'Aquila

Quake epicenter © ESRI

Quake epicenter

Central Italy was struck by a powerful earthquake early Monday morning while residents were asleep. At least 150 people were killed in collapsed houses and other buildings, reported officials.

The deaths occurred mainly in L’Aquila, a medieval city about 60 miles east of Rome with a population of 68,000, and surrounding villages.

In the main image, the city of Rome is visible on Italy’s southern shore, just left of center. L’Aquila lies to the northeast, in a valley surrounded by the Apennine mountains.

The quake struck shortly after 3.30 a.m. local time and was centered in the mountainous Abruzzo region. The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake’s epicenter was believed to be about 60 miles from Rome and that its depth was 6.2 miles. People in many parts of central Italy felt the quake. Residents of Rome, which is rarely hit by seismic activity, were woken by the tremors.

The U.S. Geological Survey initially said the magnitude of the quake was 6.7, then lowered it to 6.3 on the Richter Scale, though Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics put it at 5.8.

Rubble was strewn throughout the city of L’Aquila and nearby towns, blocking roads and hampering rescue teams and residents who were searching for survivors among the debris.

Officials said that between 10,000 and 15,000 buildings were damaged, and that some 100,000 people had left their homes.

Rubble in street, L'Aquila, Italy - April 6th, 2009 ©AFP

Rubble in street, L'Aquila

Ruptured ground, L'Aquila, Italy - April 6th, 2009 © ANSA

Ruptured ground, L'Aquila

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