Italy's biggest quakes over three decades


Rome (AFP)

Italy's most powerful earthquake in 36 years, which shook the centre of the nation and was felt in Rome on Sunday, was the latest in a long string of major tremors.

It measured 6.6 on the so-called moment magnitude scale, according to US geologists, while Italian monitors estimated it at 6.5. No fatalities have been registered.

Here are the country's biggest quakes in the past 30 years:

- 2016: Nearly 300 dead -

On August 24, 2016, a 6.0-6.2 magnitude quake hits mountain villages in a remote area straddling the regions of Umbria, Marche and Lazio. The small mountain town of Amatrice bears the brunt of the earthquake that kills 297 people and injures hundreds more.

On October 26, two more earthquakes shake central Italy -- one a 5.5 magnitude tremor, the other 6.1 two hours later. Several people are lightly injured.

- 2012: Thousands homeless -

In late May 2012, two violent shocks 10 days apart leave 25 people dead and 14,000 others homeless in the northern Emilia Romagna region.

- 2009: Hundreds dead -

On April 6, 2009, an earthquake rattles central Italy leaving more than 300 people dead, around 65,000 homeless and toppling priceless churches and monuments. L'Aquila, capital of the mountainous region of Abruzzo, bears the brunt of the disaster.

- 2002: 27 children dead -

On October 31, 2002, 30 people die -- most of them children -- and 61 are injured when the village of San Giuliano di Puglia in the central region of Molise is hit by a violent earthquake.

Twenty-seven children and their teacher are crushed inside their school in the tiny mediaeval village.

- 1997: Two quakes in a week -

Two earthquakes shake Umbria in central Italy and Marche in the east within the space of a week, on September 26 and October 3. Twelve people are killed, more than 110 injured and 38,000 left homeless. The quakes damage several historic buildings, including the basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi.

- 1990: Sicily struck -

On December 13 an earthquake hits Sicily, killing 17 and injuring 200.

On May 5 the same year, four people are killed in a quake in the southern region of Basilicate.

- Worst-ever quakes -

On November 23, 1980, a strong earthquake in the southern Campania and Basilicate regions killed more than 2,900.

On January 13, 1915, a huge earthquake struck the town of Avezzano in Abruzzo, killing 30,000.

On December 28, 1908, in Reggio di Calabria and neighbouring Sicily, a massive quake killed around 95,000.