Experts: Earthquakes in Italia and Burma


Published: 24Aug2016

A strong earthquake in central Italy reduced three towns to rubble as people slept early Wednesday, with reports that at least 50 people were killed and hundreds injured as rescue crews raced to dig out survivors.” (CBC)

“An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.8 has shaken central Burma, the U.S. Geological Survey says.” (CBC)

Rebecca Harrington, Earth & Planetary Sciences McGill University

She uses observational approaches to study the source of earthquakes and other “non-conventional” seismic signals such as volcanic hybrid earthquakes, and non-volcanic tremor.

She’s available for TV+radio media interviews today.

514-398-2722, rebecca.harrington [at] (English)

Christie Rowe, Earth and Planetary Sciences, McGill University

“The M6.2 earthquake of August 23, 2016 struck only 45 km away from the epicentre of the 2009 L'Aquila Earthquake (M6.3) which killed over 300 people. Yesterday's quake occurred on a similar fault to the 2009 earthquake, and has already produced large aftershocks (up to M5.5) which continue to shake the region during rescue efforts.

The central Apennines region is subject to earthquakes like yesterday's event because of the motion of the tectonic plates. A continental rift structure runs in a northwest-southeast trend along the Italian peninsula and includes several major faults similar to the one which generated yesterday's quake. 

Although the Aug 23, 2016 and the 2009 event were moderate sized earthquakes, the effects in central Italy are devastating. The 2009 earthquake at L'Aquila caused thousands of casualties and the Aug 23 earthquake has likely had similar effect. In many cases, modern buildings can withstand shaking of this intensity without structural damage, but the central Apennines region of Italy many Medieval buildings as well as modern buildings fell or sustained damage.

—Christie Rowe

“The western Quebec seismic zone has produced earthquakes as large as M5.8 (in 1732), and the Charlevoix region has had even greater earthquakes (as large as M7, in 1663). Most construction in the region postdates these larger events, so it is not known how well Montreal's architecture will stand up to the shaking. A 2013 report from the Insurance Bureau of Canada selected the St Lawrence Valley region (stretching from Ottawa through Montréal to Québec City as the second most likely area in Canada (after southern BC) to experience a damaging earthquake in the next 50 years.”

—Christie Rowe

She studies the geology of faults and leads the Field Rheology Rowe Research Group.

Professor Rowe is out of the country, but is available by email.

christie.rowe [at], @KeepItRheol (English)

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