Siena Earthquakes Keep the City on High Alert

The Siena Cathedral

The wave of earthquakes in Siena since the night of Feb. 8 has caused the civil protection operational room in Strada di Cerchiaia to be activated by the Municipality of Siena. The following hotline numbers can be dialled to receive assistance and information on the events: 0577 292535 and 292536.

Siena, a small city in the Tuscan region, experienced a magnitude 2.8 earthquake on Feb. 9 at 8:19 am. Six more followed with magnitudes ranging from 2.0 to 2.5. The most recent shake occurred at 9:26 am and measured a magnitude of 2.0.

It all began when the ancient city was hit with a magnitude 3.5 earthquake on the night of Feb. 8 at 9:51 pm. The shock hit the city and consequently encouraged residents to take to the streets for safety.

Four more shocks hit in the following hour, from 10:11 to 10:39 pm. The magnitudes of these earthquakes were not as massive as the initial one that occurred at 9:51 pm. The largest of the four measured 2.6 on the Richter scale and went on to decrease in strength to 1.9, 1.8, and 1.7.

The Richter scale, a scientific tool used to measure earthquake energy, ranges from levels one to nine. As levels increase, each is 10 times stronger than the previous. A 3.5 magnitude earthquake, like the first one that shook Siena the night of Feb. 8, is considered a minor and non-damaging earthquake. Residents were still able to feel the ground shaking beneath their feet and reacted accordingly, however.

“I understand the fear of citizens who will want to spend the night out of the house, which is why the Civil Protection system is active and ready to offer assistance,” said Eugenio Giani, president of the region.

The Municipality of Siena made the executive decision to cancel schools (of all levels) on Thursday, Feb. 9 in addition to Friday, Feb. 10, and universities have followed suit. As a result of the high volume of earthquakes, the courthouse, public offices, the courthouse, museums, and the Torre del Mangia have been evacuated or closed.

The city will be inspected for further damage to structures and buildings. The emergency medical service in Italy, which can be reached by dialling 118, has not reported any severe problems to structures or residents that have occurred in the aftermath of the earthquakes.

A small landslide, the movement of rock or debris down a slope or hill, was identified in Strada delle Grotte as a result of the earthquake. The area where it occurred will be closed and monitored by police in order to keep residents safe.

“The technicians of the Municipality of Siena and I are around to monitor the situation. At the moment it is confirmed that there is no damage,” said mayor Luigi De Mossi on his Facebook page.

While all are considered very light earthquakes, it is important for the residents of Siena to be cautious and evaluate damages in their area. As of now, no people have been injured. (Parker Hurley)