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What is Going on Near Modena?

Aside from the destruction caused by the earthquakes in the Modena area of Italy, the aspect which is really odd is the number of earth tremors happening in this area of Italy.

The Modena area could well be the most seismically active zone on the planet at the moment.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the area around Modena and Mantua in Italy is not a high risk area.  Yet earthquakes in the magnitude of 6.0 on the Richter scale have rocked the area several times in the last ten days.  Usually what happens is that the seismic activity reaches a kind of peak and then, with the exception of a number of aftershocks, the seismic activity fades slowly away.  Not around Modena in Italy.

If anything, the frequency of the earth tremors has stayed fairly constant with something like five tremors happening virtually every hour.  It as if the area is boiling, in a seismic kind of way.

The table below only shows the major activity which happened yesterday.  The boiling is continuing.

And this was just yesterday!
And this was just yesterday!

The intensity of the the tremors in the Modena area is between 2.5 and 3.0.  A person I know who lives in the afflicted area says the frequency of the tremors is driving her slowly mad with fear.  This comes as no surprise.

What is surprising, aside from all the seismic activity in a supposedly low risk area, is that the cause is suspected as being the African plate trying to muscle in on the European one.  Only the plate boundaries lie off the Italian coast many miles to the south of the shaking Emilia region of Italy.  The boundary of the African and European plates are close to the toe of Italy.

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Why, then, is their so much seismic activity in this area?  And the shaking has been going on for most of 2012.

What is happening?  Is some kind of super volcano about to erupt in the midst of the Italian countryside?  Perhaps the lava flow will melt all the cheese, Ferraris and Ducatis in the area?  Who knows?

Or is a huge crater about to open and swallow Modena and Mantua into the ground?  Are the mole men attacking?  What the Donald duck is going on?

If any passing geophysicists or vulcanologists can explain what is going on, and how it might end, I would be very grateful, as indeed, would be the poor people who are living through this form of hell on earth.  It is not even a nightmare – they end in the morning.  And it is not a recurring nightmare, either – they don’t happen 24 hours a day for months on end.

Please, share your wisdom with me, and everybody else who must be as curious as I am.

Thanks in anticipation for your explanation.


Featured image by Josep Renalias.

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