Earthquake from Mount Etna volcano jolts Sicily, injuring ten and sending panicked villagers fleeing their homes as cracks appear in the street
- Quake was one of 1,000 tremors this week linked to volcano’s ongoing eruption
- It was 4.8 magnitude and occurred at the relatively shallow depth of 0.6 miles
- Rural homes and older structures were damaged including a Madonna statue
A quake triggered by Mount Etna’s ongoing eruption jolted eastern Sicily before dawn Wednesday, slightly injuring 10 people and prompting frightened Italian villagers to flee their homes.
Italy’s Civil Protection officials said the quake, which struck at 3.19am, was part of a swarm of some 1,000 tremors, most of them barely perceptible, linked to Etna’s volcanic eruption this week.
The quake struck north of Catania, the largest city in the eastern part of the Mediterranean island, but no injuries or damages were reported there.
Catania in Sicily, Italy was struck by a 4.8 magnitude earthquake earlier today causing major damage, although initial reports suggest there have only been minor injuries
The earthquake followed increased volcanic activity at near by Mount Etna which is spewing dust high into the cloud
Several buildings suffered major damage although there were no reports of any deaths
Italy’s national seismology institute said it registered a magnitude of 4.8 and occurred at a relatively shallow depth, 0.6 miles, under the mountain’s surface.
The temblor damaged some rural homes, including structures that had been abandoned years ago, toppled a Madonna statue in a church in the town of Santa Venerina and opened up cracks on a highway, which was closed for inspection, Rai state radio said.
One 80-year-old man was safely extracted from the rubble of his home, the Italian news agency ANSA said.
A woman told state radio that a heavy armoire in her home had toppled over, trapping her sister, who was then safely pulled out by her father. In another house, a ceiling collapsed.
Plaster was knocked down from the ceiling of homes while some walls showed cracks
Several churches were damaged with large pieces of masonry falling from the structures
A quake triggered by Italy’s Mount Etna volcano has jolted eastern Sicily, slightly injuring 10 people and prompting frightened Italian villagers to flee their homes
A smoke column comes out of the Etna volcano in Catania, Italy on Christmas Eve 2018
‘Etna remains a dangerous volcano, and this country of ours is unfortunately fragile,’ government undersecretary Vito Crimi said, adding there were no fatalities and 10 slight injuries.
The quake was also felt in the upscale Sicilian resort town of Taormina.
The Civil Protection agency said temporary shelters were being set up for people whose houses were damaged or who were too alarmed to return to their homes.
In recent days, Etna’s latest eruption has been shooting volcanic ash, heavy smoke and lava stones into the air, coating roads and homes nearby with ash. A new fracture has opened near Etna’s southeast crater and lava has been flowing down an uninhabited slope.
Etna, the largest of Italy’s three active volcanoes, has been particularly active since July.
Rescue teams examined the church to determine whether the structure was safe to use
The Mount Etna observatory says lava and ash are spewing from a new fracture on the active Sicilian volcano amid an unusually high level of seismic activity
Debris stand in front of the heavily damaged church of Maria Santissima in Fleri, Sicily on Boxing Day 2018
Italian Civil protection volunteers gather near the heavily damaged church of Maria Santissima as plumes of smoke come out the Mount Enta Volcano in Fleri, Sicily