Italy’s Shaky History

The main thoroughfare of Amatrice before the 2016 earthquake | © Mario1952/Creative Commons

By James Esplin

Italy is a peninsula.  If you’re up to date on your geology, you may be aware that peninsulas are often created during the collision of tectonic plates, resulting in many natural wonders like Vesuvius, Etna, and ever-present geothermal activity lending itself to thermal pools and baths. On the other hand, there is a looming danger of earthquakes all throughout the country.

Though Italy is famous for it’s amazing architecture, it comes with its own foundational drawbacks.  Many of the buildings constructed pre-WWII were constructed without any sort of structural resilience to earthquakes, especially in the case of smaller cities. If you’ve been watching the news recently, it’s been a topic of discussion due to a lot of tectonic activity within the Umbria region, causing devastation to many towns unprepared to deal with the amount of rubble caused by the sad destruction of those ancient buildings.

Our dear friend and the director of the Italian club, Giuliana Marple, recently spent some time in this area, graciously volunteering her time and effort to help one of those communities.

As you can see here, Italy is being smashed between the Arabian plate and the Eurasian plate and that makes for a lot of tectonic activity!

Amatrice was especially hurt by the amount of damage caused by a large earthquake in August of 2016, and Giuliana spent nearly all of December 2016 working to provide support to the Red Cross there. We are very happy to have her and her generosity in our community, and pleased to give you the opportunity to meet her and to hear about her story of helping others at our upcoming activity.



We have the opportunity to hear from Giuliana, in conjunction with a presentation by the esteemed mayor of Montepulciano THIS WEEK!

Details: Wednesday, March 8th 6:00-8:00PM at th University of Utah: LNCO1110. No cost.


Read more about Giuliana’s experiences in Amatrice here:

FOX13 Salt Lake City: Utah Professor Extends Helping Hand After Earthquakes Hit Italy

We The Italians: Angels in Amatrice

What do you think?