Saturday, April 18, 2009

Italian Quake Reveals Underground Caves

From Italy: Abruzzo quake unearths prehistoric dwellings Rome, 17 April (AKI) - Last week's powerful earthquake in the central Italian Abruzzo regional capital L'Aquila has unearthed prehistoric dwellings there, according Italian daily La Stampa. Some of the vaulted caves measure up to five metres in height, according to Italian geologist Gianluca Ferretti, quoted by the daily. "We are exploring them," said Ferretti, who teaches geology at L'Aquila's university. One the biggest caves is located near L'Aquila's bus terminal, in via di Collemaggio. The caves date back 15,000 years, according to geologists. "Some of the caves were hollowed out by the first shepherds to inhabit the area, who would also use them as shelters for their animals," said Ferretti's colleague, Antonio Moretti. But while they represent a fascinating archaeological find, the caves' emergence has worried geologists. "It shows the fragility of the sediment on which the area is built," said Ferretti. The magnitude 6.3 quake last Monday destroyed or seriously damaged several thousand buildings in L'Aquila and surrounding villages, killing 295 people and leaving 55,000 homeless.

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