The Mw 6.3 Abruzzo (Italy) earthquake of April 6th, 2009

On site observations


On April 6th, 2009, at 3:32 am local time, a Mw 6.3 earthquake struck the Abruzzo region in Italy. This earthquake killed 305 people, with a further 1,500 people injured and approximately 15,000 buildings damaged. Many buildings of significant historical and architectural value were destroyed and several modern buildings were also severely damaged with some having fully collapsed.

The authors visited the disaster zone one month after the earthquake. The most badly affected areas in L’Aquila historical centre and three other villages – San Gregorio, Pagánica and Onna – were inspected.

The main observations made during this reconnaissance trip are briefly presented, highlighting the relevant lessons for engineering practice in New Zealand and Australia.


Bazzurro, P., Alexander, D., Clemente, P., Comerio, M., Sortis, A.D., Filippou, F., Goretti, A., Jorjani, M., Mollaioli, F., Mosalam, K., Price, H.J. and Schotanus, M. (2009). "The Mw 6.3 Abruzzo, Italy, earthquake of April 6, 2009". Learning from Earthquakes. Earthquake Engineering Research Institute. June 2009.

USGS (2009). Magnitude 6.3 - Central Italy 2009 April 06 01:32:39 UTC. [cited 23 June 2009];

Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (2009). The L'Aquila seismic sequence - April 2009. [cited 23 June 2009];

Ameri, G., Augliera, P., Bindi, D., D'Alema, E., Ladina, C., Lovati, S., Luzi, L., Marzorati, S., Massa, M., Pacor, F. and Puglia, R. (2009). "Strong-motion parameters of the Mw=6.3 Abruzzo (Central Italy) earthquake". Istitituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia.

Rete Accelerometrica Nazionale (2009). Terremoto Abruzzo: registrazioni della Rete Accelerometrica Nazionale e rapporto dell'Osservatorio Sismico delle Strutture. [cited 23 June 2009];

Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (2009). Italian Accelerometric Archive (ITACA). [cited 23 June 2009];

SNZ (2004). "NZS 1170.5:2004 - Structural design actions. Earthquake actions". 2004 ed. Wellington, New Zealand: Standards New Zealand.

How to Cite
Oyarzo-Vera, C., & Griffith, M. C. (2009). The Mw 6.3 Abruzzo (Italy) earthquake of April 6th, 2009. Bulletin of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering, 42(4), 302-307.

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