A strong earthquake has been triggered in northern Italy. Reports indicate that four people have been killed, although final numbers may be higher. Serious damage has been caused to buildings.
An earthquake, with a magnitude of 6.0, has struck Italy, according to The Independent. The quake happened in the early hours of Sunday morning (May 20). The full impact was felt across a series of small towns just outside the city of Bologna. The force was also felt in the cities of Ferrara, Verona and Mantua.
The initial quake was followed about an hour later by a 5.1-magnitude aftershock and smaller aftershocks are being recorded.
The area has a long history of earthquakes, as the US Earthquakes Hazards program indicates.
Fox News quotes an eyewitness, Emilio Bianco, receptionist at Modena's Canalgrande hotel, as saying the following about the earthquake " It was a strong one, and it lasted quite a long time." The receptionist said all of the guests in the hotel were quickly evacuated.
The BBC reports that three of the four people killed were men working inside a building, which collapsed when the seismic waves hit. CNN puts the number seriously injured at fifty.
Rescue teams are combing the area searching for any survivors buried under rubble. The work of the rescue teams is being hampered as the the impact of smaller.
In addition to the deaths and many injured, many historic buildings have been destroyed or severely damaged.
This is the second major earthquake to hit Italy this year. In January, a 5.3-magnitude quake also occurred in northern Italy, although the impact was not so severe.