Northern Italy felt a 6.0M quake on 5/20/12 followed by a 5.8M quake on 5/29/12 at 10:55 UTC (12:55 PM local time). The epicenter was in the Emilia Romagna region near Cavezzo, about 30 miles NW of Bologna. The first quake killed 7 people and in the second 17 people died and 350 were injured. 14,000 are now homeless. Some of the victims were from a factory that had just been declared safe after the first quake. The quake was felt in Bologna, Milan, Venice and as far away as the Austrian border.
Many historic buildings collapsed but most modern buildings survived. The government is investigating whether building codes were followed with some of the modern buildings that did collapse.
Earthquakes in this region are generally due to stresses that accumulate as the African Plate moves northward, colliding with the Eurasian Plate. This is the collision that is raising the Alps. See the Plate Tectonics Page for more on the processes involved. The US Geological Survey (USGS) is an invaluable resource in understanding and tracking earthquakes. See the USGS summary of this quake.
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