Rome Travel Guide

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

L'Aquila earthquake: buildings made of Sand from the Sea

Only days after the deadly L'Aquila earthquake, investigators are focusing on three structures: the emergency section of the hospital San Salvatore, rendered unusable after the first shock; the Prefecture of Police, totally destroyed; and a building housing students, where many died.

All were relatively new buildings, constructed since 1960, and--in the latest turn of the invesigation--all are now suspected of having been built with "sabbia di mare"--sea sand, long understood to produce weakened concrete.

Acting with the speed Italians sometimes demonstrate when confronted with moral issues, L'Aquila's procuratore (state's attorney) has appointed two experts in the the "science of construction" from the city's university. Assisted by local police and the Carabinieri, they have begun to sequester building materials from the three sites. The state's attorney has said that he won't wait for the results of a larger investigation; if the buildings are found to have been built with sand from the sea, and if responsibility for doing so can be ascertained, arrests will follow.
Bill
from Dianne: Photo of modern earthquake supports in centuries-old building in Rome (graphic museum w/ Sonia Delaunay exhibit, btw - right behind Trevi Fountain)

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