At night on 24 August at 3.36 in Italy there was earthquake which comprised provinces of Ascoli Piceno and Rieti. The strongest earthquake was 6.0 in Richter’s scale, and the epicenter of the earthquake was on the depth of 4 km, that is, very shallow, which brought consequences on the ground of the earth – casualties in people and material losses – were serious.

This year’s earthquake, which completely destroyed cities Accumoli, Amatricana, Pescara del Tronto, Arquata del Tronto is the last one in history which happened in Italy, as the long history of this country is also the history of natural disasters. The previous century began with a terrible earthquake which during 30 seconds changed city Reggio Calabrai and Mesyna in Siciliy into a big Calabrian rubble. It was the biggest natural disaster in the history of Europe – there were 120 thousand fatalities at that time. Since I arrived at Italy, I have experienced a few strong earthquakes, which were also felt in Rome. On 23 November 1980 the ground shook in the south of the country in the regions of Irpinia and Bazylikata and near city Salerno. After the Second World War it was the most tragical earthquake – there were 2900 fatalities, 8 thousand injured, and 250 thousand people became homeless.

The next earthquake which was felt in the capital city took place on 26 September 1997 in Umbria and happened in the city of St. Francis, Assisi. A kind of a symbol of this disaster was the basilica of St. Francis, in which frescoes of adorning the ceiling of the transept upper church collapsed. A few years later, on 31 October 2002, a rapid earthquake happened areas near city Campobasso. At that time 30 people were killed, and the whole country was in mourning, as most fatalities were children of the primary school in San Giuliano di Puglia.

At night of Sunday to Monday, on 6 April 2009, the ground shook in Abruzja, causing a lot of material losses in the historical city L’Aquila. At that time 308 people were killed. Shortly

This year’s earthquake in Italy proves that this country is a seismic region. The Apennine Peninsula lies on the border of two continental plates: Euro-asiatic plate comprising Europe and a big part of Asia, and the African plate. The earthquake is the result of a sudden discharge of tension appearing in the earth’s crust during movements of these elements of the rigid surface of the Earth. Therefore Italy is ‘shaking’ all the time – some earthquakes are registered only by seismographic intstruments (and there are thousands of them every year), the others are already felt by the man and the others cause destructions on the surface of the earth. Shortly speaking, this country is ‘doomed’ to earthquakes which, unfortunately, cannot be foreseen. Earthquakes remind the man, that he cannot completely subordinate the nature to himself – he can only restrict consequences of some natural phenomena. For this purpose there is a proper security of historical buildings, which is very significant in Italy, as well as constructing antiseismic buildings.


„Niedziela” 36/2016

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: