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Strong and shallow M6.1 earthquake hits central Italy

earthquake-italy-october-26-2016

A strong and shallow earthquake registered by the EMSC as M6.1 (downgraded from M6.3) hit central Italy at 19:18 UTC on October 26, 2016. The agency is reporting a depth of 20 km (12.4 miles). USGS is reporting the same magnitude and a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles).

According to the EMSC, the epicenter was located 31 km (19.2 miles) SW of Macerata (population 40 900), 62 km (38.5 miles) SW of Ancona, and 144 km (89.4 miles) NE of Roma (population 2 564 000), Italy.

This region was hit by a powerful M6.2 earthquake on August 24, 2016.

There are 2 640 079 people living within 100 km (62 miles). 

EMSC estimated there are 30 million people in the felt area.

USGS issued orange alert level for shaking-related fatalities, red alert level for economic losses.

Extensive damage is probable and the disaster is likely widespread. Estimated economic losses are less than 1% of GDP of Italy. Past events with this alert level have required a national or international level response.

Overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are a mix of vulnerable and earthquake resistant construction. The predominant vulnerable building types are unreinforced brick with mud and mid-rise nonductile concrete frame with infill construction.

Recent earthquakes in this area have caused secondary hazards such as landslides that might have contributed to losses.

ShakeMap - M6.1 earthquake, central Italy, October 26, 2016

This is the 13th earthquake registered by the EMSC in this region since M5.5 at 17:10 UTC.

By 20:25 UTC, the number of earthquakes registered by the EMSC rose to 26 (mag. 2.2+).

The first quake (M5.5 at 17:10) knocked out power throughout the region, closed a major highway and sent panicked residents into the streets.

There were scattered reports of damage to buildings, including with pieces of masonry crumbling down, but no immediate reports of victims, said Ornella De Luca, a spokesperson for Italy's civil protection agency.

Italy's National Vulcanology Center said the epicenter was at Macerata, near Perugia in the quake-prone Apennine Mountain chain. 

Today's earthquakes come just two months after a powerful M6.2 killed nearly 300 people.

Estimated population exposure to earthquake shaking – M6.1, October 26

Population exposure - M6.1 earthquake, central Italy, October 26, 2016

Population exposure, table - M6.1 earthquake, central Italy, October 26, 2016

Selected cities exposed

Selected cities exposed - M6.1 earthquake, central Italy, October 26, 2016

This article is based on preliminary data and is being updated.

Featured image credit: EMSC

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