Fresh quakes rattle snowbound central Italy

Amatrice (Italy): Sixteen tremors jolted central Italy’s mountainous spine on Thursday, Italy’s national geophysics and vulcanology institute after the area was hit by a series of strong earthquakes, heavy snowfalls and an avalanche last week.

The strongest of Thursday’s quakes struck at 2.35 a.m. local time in the Lazio province of Rieti at a depth of 10 kilometres, the institute said.

The quake-devastated Lazio town of Amatrice and the Abruzzo town of Campotosto in the province of L’Aquila were closest to the quake’s epicentre, according to the institute.

Four strong quakes measuring between 4.1 and 5.7 magnitude struck snowbound central Italy on January 18 and a major avalanche the same day in Abruzzo’s national park engulfed a ski hotel, killing 29 people.

The January 18 quakes came after a magnitude 6.2 earthquake on August 24 last year that killed 300 people, 238 of them in Amatrice.

Two powerful quakes of magnitude 5.4 and 5.9 with epicentres in the March region’s province of Macerata rocked central Italy October 27 last year, causing further damage to dwellings, medieval churches and monuments, but no casualties.