La Repubblica has a constantly updated report of the horrifying effects of the earthquakes rolling through northern Italy. There are now 10 dead after the major earthquake at 9.01 this morning. The cathedral of Mirandola has collapsed. Citta' d'arte from Pisa to Venice and everything in between are being shaken and damaged. The quakes are being felt from Florence to Austria.
Schools, hospitals, government buildings, are being evacuated across the country - Pisa, Genova, Bologna, Padova, Modena, Ferrara, Rovigo, Venice ..... Appeals to lift password protection from internet connections are being met by the population so that communications can be improved.
The great plain of the river Po and its tributaries rests upon the ranges of the Apennines that continue towards the Alps submerged by the silt of the river systems. These buried mountain ranges are moving, pressured towards the Alps. Water is being suddenly squeezed out of the acquifers and forced upwards causing great cracks of 'boiling' mud and sand to open up on the surface as well.
Industrial centres across the North - the economic heart of Italy - are suffering extensive damage.
The rapid and sophisticated response to this onslaught has been impressive and notably humane in coping with the destruction and threat to so much but the geologists fear that these kinds of geological events are not just a sharp adjustment but a longdrawn out shifting in a region that has been stable since the 1500s.