Earthquakes in Rome

Rome has been hit by earthquakes in the past. There is also evidence on monuments, starting from the Colosseum, as well as evidence of the period. On a general level, I wouldn’t worry much about the “if”. Italy is a seismic zone, nothing much can be done about it. And earthquakes are a natural, inevitable phenomenon. I became a geologist with a thesis on geological structures in the immediate vicinity of Rome. The idea of our supervisor started from morphological features (linear “engravings” visible from satellite imagery – there was no Google Earth to help us) that in the north-south direction seemed to affect the area of Italy’s capital. The question was: do they correspond to seismogenetic structures, i.e. capable of generating earthquakes? So we looked for traces of similar faults on the field… and found them.

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Passions are eventually good for something…

As is evident from this website, I have always been a person of multiple interests. I’ve never focused on a single object. I need to vary, to wander. For me, doing the same thing is a bit like being in prison. Clearly, those who focus all their energy on one subject have a lot of chances to succeed in that field. I’ve always criticized myself for dispersing my energies on so many things without ever making a really good one. Then someone pointed out to me that there are also pentathletes and decathletes. It’s a personal trait. And nowadays I have to say it’s been my luck…

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La Terra ha un mantello fatto di uranio? Sarà per questo che fa caldo prima di un terremoto…

A friend of mine once shared me a link to a press release from the webpage of the Italian edition of Scientific American. The source was the National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN). The headline: “Geoneutrinos confirm that we are resting on a mantle of uranium and thorium.” I imagine any geologist would frown a bit at this statement. Why? Because the mantle is not made of uranium and thorium. Plus, this research had not found out that the mantle is composed of uranium and thorium. The research confirmed that most of the Earth’s internal heat comes from the decay of radioactive elements widespread not only in the crust (as already well known) but also in the mantle. Geoneutrinos are subatomic particles, a byproduct of radioactive decay (while neutrinos come form stars for fairly similar reasons).

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Marsquakes Rock and Roll

Fifty years after Apollo 11 astronauts deployed the first seismometer on the surface of the Moon, NASA InSight’s seismic experiment transmits data giving researchers the opportunity to compare marsquakes to moon and earthquakes.

Seismologists operating the Marsquake Service at ETH Zurich literally rocked and rolled as they experienced, for the first time, two “marsquakes” in the university’s quake simulator. Researchers uploaded actual data from marsquakes detected on Martian solar day or Sol 128 and 173.The marsquakes were detected by the SEIS seismometer, whose highly sensitive electronics were delivered by the Aerospace Electronics and Instruments laboratory at ETH. Continue reading  

Not all earthquakes are created equal

My two cents (2) about the July 2019 Southern California earthquake: recorded Richter magnitude M 7.1. Not bad huh? Pretty “high.” It makes me think sadly to some of our most recent earthquakes in my country, Italy: central Apennines in 2016 and northern Apennines in 2012. The magnitudes recorded were respectively M 6.0 and M 5.9. Seen this way they would seem just a bit weaker but they did a lot of damage and deaths…. I don’t know about you, but it makes me think.

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Columbia Goes to the Moon

Fifty years ago, when astronauts first landed on the moon, they carried not only humanity’s highest hopes but an important experiment from Columbia.

On the afternoon of July 20, 1969, Gary Latham ’65GSAS, a thirty-three-year-old geophysicist at Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory, arrived at NASA’s Manned Spaceflight Center (now the Johnson Space Center) in Houston to witness the fulfillment of thousands of years of curiosity and wonder: humanity’s first attempt to land men on the moon…

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