A 6.0-magnitude earthquake has struck northern Italy just off of Bologna. The quake was centered about 22 miles north-northwest of Bologna at a somewhat shallow depth of 6.3 miles, per the U.S. Geological Survey.
The strongest quake to hit Italy in three years occurred around 4 a.m. in the morning and was followed by several significant aftershocks, including at least two aftershocks of magnitude 5.1, that finished the job of collapsing already weakened structures in the vicinity of Sant' Agostino.
The epicenter of the quake was in the plains near Modena in the Emilia-Romagna region of the Po river valley, with tremors being felt as far west as Liguria, which borders France, and in the Friuli region that borders Slovenia.
Jolts from the quake and its aftershocks were felt across a large area of northern Italy, including the cities of Bologna, Ferrara, Verona and Mantua and as far away as Venice and Milan, devastating several world heritage sites.
Mirandola’s cathedral roof collapsed where school children were to receive their first communion this morning but luckily the quake did not occur during the event!
A 14th century castle in the town of San Felice Sul Panaro, named Estense Castle, was badly damaged. Tops of several smaller towers of the famous medieval castle, which is the town's biggest attraction, were toppled but the main tower was spared. Three of the town's churches were also severely damaged.
An 83-year-old woman from the town of Bondeno, near Ferrara said that she had not felt anything like this in her entire lifetime.
Gas has also been leaking in damaged areas, no doubt easily ignitable! At this time, at least six people have been reported dead, including a woman of 106, killed by a falling roofbeam at her house, a man working a night shift in a polyester factory who was hit by falling debris, and two men working in a modern ceramics factory which was made of steel but collapsed under the strain in the town of Sant' Agostino. Yet another body was located under the rubble of another factory.