Marsica earthquake of 1915


January 24, 2022

The Marsica earthquake of 1915, also known as the Avezzano earthquake, was a dramatic seismic event that occurred on January 13, 1915 that devastated the historical-geographical region of Marsica, in Abruzzo, and the neighboring areas of contemporary Lazio, such as the Liri valley. and Cicolano, causing 30 519 deaths according to the national seismic service. The earthquake, classified among the main earthquakes that occurred in Italy for its destructive force and number of victims, affected a large part of central Italy, causing damage and victims in various provinces.

Historical seismicity

Historical documents and paleo-seismological investigations carried out in the Fucino area make strong earthquakes plausible in the Marsican seismic districts in ancient times, such as that of 508 AD, and during the Middle Ages. In 1231 an earthquake with its epicenter in San Germano, the contemporary Cassino, also caused serious damage in the Fucense-Roveto area, as it happened with the earthquake of 1315 and with the earthquake of the central-southern Apennines of 1349. Other seismic events of relief caused damage in the Marsica area and in the entire province of L'Aquila in the years 1456, 1461, 1654, 1695, 1703, 1706 and 1885. On 24 February 1904, an earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 5.7 with its epicenter in Rosciolo dei Marsi caused serious damage to the architectural heritage of the area, but did not cause any casualties. A few months later, on November 2 of the same year, an earthquake of magnitude 4.8 was recorded in the Fucense seismic district. The same magnitude was recorded in the Western Marsica on February 22, 1910 and in the Eastern Marsica on April 14, 1914.

Historical data

About six years after the Messina earthquake on December 28, 1908, a few months before entering the First World War, Italy was once again devastated by a very violent earthquake. It took place on Wednesday 13 January 1915, according to official data from the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, at 07:52:43 (while an information telegram sent by the municipality of Tagliacozzo to the Ministry of the Interior reports at 07:48). The mainshock of tectonic origin, according to the seismologist Alfonso Cavasino, was not preceded by any foreshocks such as to create a particular alarm. Its intensity was equal to the 11th degree of the Mercalli scale; later its magnitude was estimated at 7.0 Mw. The epicenter was located in the Fucino basin in Abruzzo, but the seismic wave also hit other areas of central Italy such as Lazio, Marche and part of Campania, with equal effects or higher than the VII degree of the Mercalli scale. The Rocca di Papa geodynamic observatory recorded aftershocks of varying intensity over the next four years, of which about 1,300 in the first six months following the main event. The shock was felt from the Po Valley to Basilicata, while in Rome its effects were classified between the VI and VII degrees of the Mercalli scale. The earthquake of 1915, due to its destructive force and number of victims, is classified among the main earthquakes that occurred in Italy. In the calculation of the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, the victims were 30,519, of which over 10,000 in the city of Avezzano alone. In addition to the capital of the Marsican district, the so-called "four elevenths of the Mercalli scale" were found in the Cappelle dei Marsi, Gioia dei Marsi and San Benedetto dei Marsi, places where the destruction was almost total. The quake was also felt in the capital, causing damage to some buildings, despite this the Salandra government took a long time to understand the vastness of the area involved and the seriousness of the consequences: the alarm in all its drama was raised twelve hours after the main shock with the slow media of the time from the municipality of Sante Marie. The first inadequate aid arrived in the affected areas only at dawn the next day. The official aid

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