A pair of earthquakes rattled central Italy late Wednesday, sending fearful residents running into the streets not far from where a powerful temblor killed nearly 300 people in August, according to USA TODAY.
“It was a very strong earthquake, apocalyptic,” Marco Rinaldi, mayor of the small town of Ussita, told the ANSA news agency. “People are screaming on the street and now we are without lights.”
There were scattered reports of damage to buildings in the region, including pieces of masonry crumbling, Ornella De Luca, a spokeswoman for Italy’s civil protection agency, told the Associated Press.
At least two people were wounded in the first quake, but there were no immediate reports of deaths or others injuries in either event.
The second, more powerful quake measured a magnitude-6.1, and hit nearly two hours after the earlier magnitude-5.5 quake, the U.S. Geological Survey said. Both were located near Visso, Italy, about 150 miles northeast of Rome. Both were also relatively shallow, centered 6 miles below the surface, the USGS reported.
Quakes that rumble close to the surface tend to cause more shaking. When coupled with sometimes centuries-old infrastructure, as is the case in many of the hilltop towns of Italy, these quakes can cause significant damage. "They have a lot of old buildings that weren't constructed at a time with modern seismic codes," USGS seismologist Paul Earle told AP.