Recent Italian earthquakes may be showing a ‘domino effect’, seismologist warns

Posted: October 30, 2016 by oldbrew in Earthquakes, Geology, Geomagnetism
Italian earthquake series continues [image credit: Fox News]

Italian earthquake series continues [image credit: Fox News]

The latest Italian earthquake fortunately seems to have killed no-one but at magnitude 6.6 was a strong one. In Rome ‘The metro was halted for hours and the Colosseum was being checked for damage.’

What next? The Daily Telegraph consults an expert.

The earthquakes that have buffeted central Italy over the last two months could continue in a devastating domino effect with one large quake leading to another along the central Apennine fault system, a leading seismologist has warned.

The latest earthquake on Sunday morning caused no known casualties but was the strongest to hit Italy, one of the world’s most seismically active countries, since 1980.

Gianluca Valensise, a seismologist at Italy’s National Institute for Geophysics and Vulcanology, said there was a “geodynamic link” between the deadly August earthquake and all those that have followed.

Italy’s Apennine mountains that run from the Liguria region in the northwest to the southern island of Sicily are dominated by a chain of faults in the earth’s crust, each one averaging about 10-20 kilometres in length.

Looking ahead, he [Valensise] said it was certain there would be aftershocks from Sunday’s earthquake for “at least a few weeks,” but it was not possible to say whether there would be any more more big quakes.

The risk is that, with faults to the northwest and southeast of the central region most recently hit, “if the process of stress redistribution finds other faults close to rupture level they could go off in the next days or weeks”, he said.

Full report: Earthquakes could continue to batter central Italy in devastating ‘domino effect’, seismologist warns | The Daily Telegraph

H/T Michele Casati

  1. craigm350 says:

    Graeme No.3 commented over at Chiefio’s;

    Graeme No.3 on 30 October 2016 at 9:23 am
    I wonder…there were a whole series of earthquakes in southern Italy (roughly) 1780-1810 which devastated the province. The first of five major quakes struck on February 5, 1783, but later research revealed that the entire region had been hit by a series of quakes lasting through 1787. All in all, 949 major and minor quakes hit Calabria. Around 200 cities and towns were destroyed. The estimated number of deaths ranges from 32,000 to 50,000. The very landscape of Calabria was changed as new valleys and lakes were created.

    full if you want lots of detail. for details of house construction changes

  2. Curious George says:

    We can’t predict earthquakes – at least not yet. And Italy jails scientists who fail to predict an earthquake. So seismologists are now reduced to weasel words only.

  3. Graeme No.3 says:

    craigm350: Italy is very prone to seismic activity with earthquakes and volcanoes etc. with recurrent actions. What I was thinking but didn’t say was that Mt. Vesuvius has been unusually quiet since 1945. That’s a long time between erruptions for Vesuvius. Fortunately the current earthquakes are some distance away.
    Portugal has also had a problem with earthquakes with a giant one in 1755. They still use the same building method today as they did when rebuilding then, with a wood frame inside. The third reference was to the Italian method which is a bit different.

  4. oldmanK says:

    It is not just Italy. The whole Med is feeling Africa’s push, from Gibraltar to Greece, and down the Malta Escarpment. Compression building up.

    See this link: Look at the big picture and one can guess what to expect in Italy.

  5. Kevin Lohse says:

    Anyone seen anything linking earthquakes to CAGW yet? It’s only a matter of time…..

  6. oldbrew says:

    The DT report also says:

    Series of earthquakes similar to 1783 and 1997 ones

    Valensise said Italy had seen something resembling the sequence of earthquakes in Calabria, in Italy’s southern toe, in 1783 when there were five major quakes measuring 6.5 or larger in less than two months.

    More recently, there were three quakes around Assisi in central Italy in 1997, the first one measuring 6.4 which killed 11 people, another the following day, and another around 20 days later with many smaller ones in between.

  7. oldbrew says:

    Large sinkhole opens after strong earthquakes hit Greece

    Posted by TW on October 22, 2016

  8. dennisambler says:

    Kevin Lohse: Anyone seen anything linking earthquakes to CAGW yet?
    “In the polar regions, scientists have noted that earthquakes are on the rise, and that some of these may be associated with global warming.”

    However, an Iranian cleric did blame them on women wearing scanty clothes:
    “A senior Iranian cleric says women who wear revealing clothing and behave promiscuously are to blame for earthquakes.”

  9. dennisambler says:

    Missed a trick, should have added, “Did the earth move for you?”

  10. First…Corona holes effect
    and then new moon influence.
    I think a electric reorganization on site,
    with many variations of atmospheric circulation.
    est–>west or west—>est

    18°C to 850hPa 0°C to 850hPa or viceversa…

    A exemple of scenario ….

    Quote :

    “………Therefore, a step by step schematic scenario of solar
    activity effects on seismic activity could include the following
    • pressure pulses associated with high speed solar wind
    streams or CME driven shocks compress the
    • the auroral electrojet strengthens,
    • the generated atmospheric gravity waves are transmitted
    • westward zonal winds strengthen,
    • surface air pressure changes,
    • the pressure balance on tectonic plates is disrupted and
    • if enough tension is accumulated, an earthquake is

  11. oldmanK says:

    Central Italy appears to be the point of major stress relaxation (no holiday matter intended). But there is activity recorded in a straight line:
    Pisa>central Italy>Adriatic sea>Albania>Greece> Bodrum Turkey.

    All in the space of three days. Something unusual is going on.

  12. oldmanK says:

    oldbrew said “Large sinkhole opens after strong earthquakes hit Greece”. More like a widening cleavage. Tell-tales of relative earth movement.

  13. Tenuk says:

    @Michele Casati:
    “First…Corona holes effect and then new moon influence…”

    I agree that the coronal holes and tides trigger earthquakes. It is only in fairly recent times that geologists realised that our crust is in fact a highly fractured fractal structure with many many cracks in it at all scales. These range from the colossal, like the crack developing near the Red Sea in Africa’s Afar desert, down to many trillions of micro-cracks thinner than a hair and all sizes in between – not solid, but a schisosphere.

    This means the crust is able to move due to changes in internal pressure caused by heating or cooling of the mantle and core. This sun and tides together cause and trigger seismic events.

  14. ren says:

    Strong jumping speed of the solar wind.,141

  15. oldbrew says:

    Note the high min. (spike?) daily solar wind speed around 20161017 on Ren’s graph.
    Plus high max. about a week later.

  16. oldbrew says:

    ‘…there is some evidence that most large events such as strong solar flares and significant geomagnetic storms tend to occur in the declining phase of the solar cycle.’

    Date: 01/11/16 Paul Dorian, Vencore Weather

    ‘The current solar cycle is the 24th since 1755 when extensive recording of solar sunspot activity began and is the weakest in more than a century with the fewest sunspots since cycle 14 peaked in February 1906.’

  17. tchannon says:

    The cascade effect for stress relief makes wide sense, forms part of some warning systems, not that anything of use to the public has appeared yet. IIRC there are stress maps.

  18. ren says:

    Oldbrew not the end of the jumping speed of the solar wind.

  19. Tenuc says:

    Good graph, Ren. I think the combined speed/density which trigers quakes and volcanoes.

  20. oldbrew says:

    oldmanK says:
    October 31, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    That ‘sinkhole’ seems to have a very straight edge to it towards the top of the photo – is that normal for such phenomena?

  21. oldmanK says:

    oldbrew, yes it appears so. Another pic here

    and here

    It is shear, where a rapture in the earth’s crust causes relative movement. It is a very common sight in geology.

  22. oldmanK says:

    Some history:
    Amatrice was a target for earthquakes in 1639 .>>

    then in 1693 occurred the Sicilian quake which cause damage in Malta too. >> South of Etna is the African tectonic plate, pushing under Europe.

  23. oldmanK says:

    @oldbrew: the faulting in the Italian quakes is of some metres displacement. It is ugly -no doubt- apart from the destruction. But it could be worse. The faulting in the link below is of several hundred feet and the other-side is gone (my present interest). >

  24. oldbrew says:

    BBC 26/10/16: Seismic risks remain after Italian quakes

    The new [satellite] data confirms that Sunday’s tremor near the town of Norcia filled a “seismic gap” created by August’s M6.2 event to the south, and last week’s M6.1 trembler to the north. (The three quakes cut across two neighbouring faults in the Apennine Mountains known as the Laga and the Vetorre.)

    “This central section had not ruptured in the two earlier quakes but had been stressed – brought closer to failure – by those events,” explained Dr Richard Walters from Durham University, UK.

  25. oldbrew says:

    A bit OT: Mount St Helens Is Getting Weird(er)!–“It’s Magma Source is a Mystery”

    But instead of finding a hot magma chamber directly beneath the volcano, seismic data indicates a relatively cool wedge of serpentine rock.

    Not only is Mount St. Helens out of place, but it also lacks the magma reserves we’d expect given its violent history.

  26. oldbrew says:

    DT report: Is the ‘big one’ about to hit Rome? Series of tremors and volcanoes reawakening prompt fears of major quake
    By Chiara Palazzo
    1 NOVEMBER 2016

    In a nutshell: no.

    Whilst scientists say there is no risk that Rome will be hit by a “big one”, something different may be threatening the Eternal City – a dormant volcano.

    Situated on Rome’s doorstep, the volcano is showing signs of activity which, combined with the seismic history of the area, would indicate it is slowly reactivating, an international team of scientists said.

    However, inhabitants need not worry yet: while in geological times the eruption is considered to be imminent, it’s far away on a human scale – about a thousand years.

  27. oldbrew says:

    Norcia earthquake: Why multiple quakes are hitting Italy

    Further information will come from the radar satellites that will overfly the Apennines region in the coming days to map the quake zone.

    Their pictures will be compared with space images acquired before Sunday’s big tremor to see how the rocks have moved.

    Europe’s Sentinel-1 mission was launched specifically with this kind of work in mind.

    Sentinel-1 actually comprises two spacecraft that have already revealed considerable insight into the August quake and its connection with Wednesday’s double tremor.

  28. oldmanK says:

    In oldbrew’s link there is a pic that shows the plate boundary-a black line. If you look at this link [ ] note that the recent quakes have been along the boundary; Italy > Malta > Albania > Tunisia > Algeria. The greater destruction is in Italy where stress relaxation is greatest, but the main cause can be seen in the wider context.