Magnitude 5.9 Southern Italy
Thursday, October 31, 2002 at 10:32:58 (UTC)
Preliminary moment-tensor solutions for this earthquake imply that the shock occurred as the result of movement on a strike-slip fault. The fault would be either a north-south, left-lateral fault or an east-west, right-lateral fault. Some geologists have hypothesized that a major component of the relative motion between the African plate and Eurasian plate is accommodated on a north-south, left-lateral, boundary that passes near the epicenter of the earthquake. The boundary is thought to accommodate slip of 5 - 10 mm/ year. The preliminary focal-mechanisms are consistent with this model. It is noteworthy, however, that many destructive earthquakes in Italy occur as the result of deformation of the earth's crust that is not related in a simple way to the present-day movements of the African and Eurasian plates. Until detailed studies of this earthquake are completed, hypotheses on the earthquake's relationship to large-scale plate-tectonic processes are speculative.
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Preliminary Earthquake ReportUSGS National Earthquake Information Center
U.S. Geological Survey, National Earthquake Information Center