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May 25, 2015

Ah, Italia! Part Three : Ground Truth

Our visit to the villages of Paganica and Onna, Italy constituted a form of 'ground truth'. The phrase used in this sense means walking the streets and making an (albeit, informal rather than scientific) photographic catalog of the damaged buildings. It was a sobering learning experience for me.

While still a doctoral student, I had the opportunity to do this just once before, a couple of months after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake (Mw 6.9) that flattened a portion of the Nimitz Freeway and was responsible for triggering mass wasting events and resulted in liquefaction in, among other places, the Marina District of San Francisco.

The city of L'Aquila, although hard hit by the 2009 earthquake (details reported in: Falcucci et al., The Paganica Fault and Surface Coseismic Ruptures Caused by the 6 April 2009 Earthquake (L'Aquila, Central Italy) Seismological Research Letters, November/December 2009, v. 80, p. 940-950) was not the only place to receive significant damage from the earthquake. Both Paganica (the earthquake was located on the Paganica fault) and Onna suffered heavy damages. Parts of Paganica and the entire village of Onna are still in an abandoned state.

Paganica, 24 April 2015





 


 


Irises flourish near the abandoned church



A small wine tavern near the entrance to the abandoned areas



The rotated war memorial.
A newly erected testimonial placed next to a war memorial
that had been rotated during the earthquake (see right).





Onna, 24 April 2015