Where?: Medieval city of L’Aquila, 95km (60 miles) from Rome

When?: 0332 6 April 2009

How strong?
: 6.3 magnitude at 0332 local time (lots of people asleep and therefore trapped)  preceded by a 4.6 magnitude quake (no reported damage)

Effects:  Initial reports state that 27 people have been killed, 30 unaccounted for, 3,000 to 10,000 builidngs damaged.  Many historical buildings have collapsed.  As of 1030 6 April 2009.

Why? : Down the middle of Italy is the large Apennine Fault which is orientated NW-SE.  It is a complex geological area and the appenines is largely an accretinary wedge formed due to the process of subduction.  Essentially the region is both a collision zone and a subduction zone between the Eurasian and African plates as well as smaller microplates.  The US Geological Survey has extensive infrmation.

Italian Earthquake Map

Category 1 is the strongest (red)