Study shows that an earthquake in Italy in the 5th century damaged famous Roman buildings

Study shows that an earthquake in Italy in the 5th century damaged famous Roman buildings

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A new investigation determined that the geological fault system in central Italy, which produced the deadly earthquake in 2016, was also responsible for a earthquake in the 5th century which damaged many Roman monuments, including the Colosseum.

The Monte Vettore fault system, which winds through the Apennines, ruptured on the night of August 24, 2016, generating a 6.2 magnitude earthquake that killed nearly 300 people and destroyed several villages in the surrounding region.

The fault broke again in October 2016, producing two new earthquakes with magnitudes greater than 6.

Until that time, scientists they believed the Mount Vettore fault system was down. They knew that it could produce earthquakes, but as far as they knew, it was the first time that the rupture of the fault had been recorded in history.

Now a new study published in the journal AGU Journal Tectonics, combines geological data with historical records and proved that the fault produced a major earthquake in AD 443, which damaged or destroyed many well-known monuments of Roman civilization.

Among these buildings was the Coliseum, the Pompey Theater, Rome's first permanent theater, and several important early Christian churches such as the Basilica of saint paul and the church of San Pedro in Cadenas, where you can currently see Michelangelo's Moses.

Using data from archaeological excavations carried out throughout history, and historical records from the Roman Empire, Paolo Galli, a geophysicist with the Italian Department of Civil Protection, and his colleagues, compared the rupture of Mount Vettore in the 15th century, giving rise to the earthquake that shook central Italy in 443.

The texts written by Pope Leo I, the emperors Valentinian III and Theodosius II in the 5th century, they refer to restorations made to the structures mentioned above, probably as a result of the 443 earthquake.

The results of this study suggest that the 2016 earthquake was not as unexpected as previously thought, and that other faults considered inactive in the Apennines may pose a danger to central Italy.

Via American Geophysical Union

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