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NCCU professor predicted more earthquakes for Italy

Posted October 30

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— The third powerful earthquake in three days rocked central Italy Sunday morning, injuring more than a dozen people.

In towns outside Rome, buildings toppled and people fled while emergency crews rushed nuns and priests to safety to avoid flying debris. At least six people have been pulled from rubble and the historic Basilica of St. Benedict was destroyed.

The 6.6 magnitude quake is the third and most powerful to hit the county since Wednesday. A deadly and devastating earthquake killed 300 people in August.

“Unfortunately, in a way, this earthquake was not a surprise,” said Gordana Vlahovic, Associate Professor of Earth Science at North Carolina Central University.

WRAL News spoke with Vlahovic following the August earthquake to learn about a new environmental and geographic science course that allowed students to utilize technology that detected the August quake in North Carolina due to its magnitude.

Vlahovis said then that central Italy has a history of seismic activity and that more tremors could be coming.

“There is a very long fault line along the spine of Italy, and so very close to the location of this earthquake. In 1997, just 60 kilometers to the north, there was a similar magnitude earthquake. In 2009, just 60 kilometers to the south, there was a similar magnitude earthquake,” she said.

The technology cannot predict earthquakes, Vlahovis said, but it can prepare communities that are most susceptible.

“Then we can actually work on educating the general public and educating the administration in putting our effort into building safe structures,” she said.

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