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A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Possible Source of Ancient Earthquake Examined

Friday, February 8, 2019

Italy Mount VettoreROME, ITALY—According to a Nature report, Paolo Galli of Italy’s Department of Civil Protection led a team of researchers who searched the 18-mile-long Mount Vettore fault in the central Apennine Mountains for evidence of past earthquakes. They found soil disturbances suggesting that the fault generated six earthquakes measuring greater than magnitude 6.5 over the past 9,000 years. One of those events may have been an earthquake recorded by historians in A.D. 443, which damaged the Colosseum and other buildings in Rome. The most recent earthquakes caused by the fault occurred in 2016, killing some 300 people. To read about a theory of how an earthquake may have affected ancient Chinese history, go to “Seismic Shift.”

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