L’Aquila (Italy) Earthquake

Earthquake hit area

The surface magnitude 6.3 L’Aquila earthquake which struck the L’Aquila area on April 6, 2009, damaged a large number of buildings, of nearly all construction types. Its epicenter was only 7 kilometers of north-west of the city. Officially, 306 died and 1500 were seriously injured. Approximately, 15000 buildings were severely destroyed or collapsed. These buildings were representative of construction types in form and structural system to those of the same vintage found across Europe.

A large portion of L’Aquila’s older building stock is of URM, built in the absence of mandatory earthquake-design requirements. These older buildings were at greater risk than the new buildings not only because they have been designed no or little seismic loading requirements but also not being capable of dissipating energy through large inelastic deformations.

In the light of the observed damage in L’Aquila, decision makers should be aware of the
catastrophic nature of non-ductile structural systems when weighing options in seismic mitigation strategies. This is important because of the large inventory of existing structures constructed prior to the legislation of ductile design guidelines.

Rome 2009

Memories from Rome with Prof. Kaplan