Lost ‘earthquake swarm’ that caused forgotten ‘catastrophe’ found

Lost ‘earthquake swarm’ that caused forgotten ‘catastrophe’ found


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Swarms of earthquakes, condemned to be lost for eternity, have been revealed thanks to a newly found Hebrew note from the 15th century.

A geologist working through the Vatican City’s historical records unearthed the medieval note which contained a form of Hebrew used at the time.

The language dates back to the Apennie town of Camerino, Italy, in 1446, and showed that hundreds of earthquake swarms rumbled in just a few months.

The note was written on a piece of flyleaf paper, that experts say was from a prayer book used at the time.

Within its contents were descriptions of hundreds of disastrous quakes which took place between March and August centuries ago.

The hidden parchment was found by geologist and earthquake expert Paolo Galli, an employee of the country’s Department of Civil Protection.

His research was published earlier this month in the Seismological Research Letters journal.

The researcher had been sifting through the archives to find more evidence on a swarm of earthquakes that took place a decade after the newest findings.

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However, the evidence he found regarding the earlier quakes transformed knowledge of them.

He told Live Science: “While I was searching for news concerning one of the most catastrophic series of earthquakes in Italy, in 1456.

“By chance, I found an unknown manuscript dealing with an unknown earthquake that occurred farther north 10 years before, in 1446.”

According to a translation of the 1446 earthquakes, “vivid” details of its impact were given.

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The swarm was hailed as “extremely brief, but vivid and full of pathos”.

Galli continued: “In just eight lines, the chronicler tells us that the numerous earthquakes from March to August had brought down many houses in Camerino, as well as in several other settlements around it.

“Hundreds of survivors moved from the country to Camerino, to help the people there and bring them wine, food, and all the supplies they had saved from the ruins.”

Scientists say the discovery of the swarm could help predict earthquakes today.

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