In DepthItaly

Deadly quakes divide experts

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Science  01 Aug 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6196, pp. 501
DOI: 10.1126/science.345.6196.501

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A newly published report by a group of American geoscientists concludes that two deadly earthquakes that struck the north of Italy in 2012 were not triggered by activities at a local oil field. That finding is at odds with the outcome of an earlier study, released in April, which said that the humanmade influence "cannot be excluded." The Italian government claims that the new study, which in part draws on new pressure measurements made at the oil field in question, rules out any role for hydrocarbon extraction in the two quakes. But some scientists question the legitimacy of the new research, which was commissioned on behalf of the company that owns the oil field and was based on work carried out for energy giant ENI.

  • * Edwin Cartlidge is a science writer in Rome.

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