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RMS : comments on Italy earthquake

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At 07:00 UTC on Tuesday, May 29 a Mw5.8 (moment magnitude) earthquake struck the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy, just over a week after a Mw6.0 earthquake struck the region. According to the USGS the epicenter of today’s earthquake is around 6 miles to the west-northwest of Sunday’s earthquake, and approximately 24 miles north-northwest of Bologna; 36 miles east of Parma, and over 200 miles north-northwest of Rome. Reports of damage are beginning to emerge and fatality figures have been reported. It is still within six hours of the earthquake having struck and RMS will continue to monitor emerging information and will update accordingly.

According to the USGS PAGER, the maximum intensity of ground shaking in the vicinity of the epicenter was VII (very strong) on the Modified Mercalli Intensity (MMI) scale. This level of shaking can be expected to cause moderate damage to resistant structures and moderate/heavy damage to vulnerable structures. The USGS PAGER reports that an estimated 60,000 people were exposed to this level of shaking – to include the municipalities of San Felice sul Panaro (population ~10,000), Camposanto (~3,000), Medolla (~6,000), Mirandola (~22,000), Cavezzo (~7,000) and San Prospero (~4,000) –while over 1 million were exposed to intensity V or stronger shaking, where there is potential for damage to structures to occur.

As of 12:00 UTC on Tuesday, May 29, local media are reporting 10 fatalities. Italian media are reporting that some buildings damaged by the earthquake on Sunday, May 20 have suffered further damage, particularly in Cavezzo and Mirandola – including the Mirandola Cathedral. An industrial facility is reported to have collapsed in Medolla , which resulted in three of the fatalities and reports are emerging that a facility in San Felice has been damaged which is contributing to the fatality figures reported.