Historical Earthquakes Affecting Marano Marchesato

Families from Marano Marchesato, Cosenza, Calabria

Historical Earthquakes Affecting Marano Marchesato
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This report was translated to english from the Catalog of Strong Italian Earthquakes 461 B.C. to 1990 at http://storing.ingrm.it/cft/index.htm.  This on-line catalog is a wealth of information relating to earthquakes and their socio economic affects on the victims in all of Italy. 

The excerpts for the five earthquakes below were gathered after performing a search of earthquakes affecting Marano Marchesato.  There is much more information available on the source web site, but for the non-italian speaking (whose club I am a member,) I tried to briefly summarize what I found important, interesting, and relevent to the study of the life and times in Marano Marchesato.

The first paragraph of each excerpt describes elements specific to Marano Marchesato.  Details in following paragraphs relate to the general global affects of the tremor.

Earthquake of 5 February 1783

The earthquake sequence began on 5 February 1783, and on 28 March 1783 it affected Marano Marchesato.  The earthquake was very strong.  Thirty homes collapsed, as many were unscathed, the remaining endured damages of varied extent; all the churches were damaged and rendered unsafe.  The aftermath resulted in landslides with many uprooted trees.  

This earthquake devastated all of Calabria during the February and March 1783.  The tremerous events and disastrous aftermath of epidemic fever brought about an attempt at redistributing resources throughout the affected area.  Eclesiastic property was sold in order to finance the  reparations, however little change was made to ease the burdens of the majority peasant population.  83% of the land was under baronial power, whose power exceeded that of the state.  The events caused a movement from rural to more populated areas, where the redistributed resources were concentrated.

Earthquake of 12 October 1835 

The earthquake damaged the chiesa parrochiale.  The earthquake centered in the valley of the Cosentino and claimed a total of 115 lives and 240 wounded.  No fatalaties or wounded were specifically noted in Marano Marchesato.  The event added aggravation to the already precarious situation for the contadini and pastori of the area.

Interestingly, the day before earthquake (11 October) after the sunset a " heated meteor " was seen in the sky. One said that the animals had had strange behaviors: the horses stopped and decidedly planted their legs in the land; the dogs had barked and their hair had ruffled; the sheep scattered in the fields and emitting a feable bleating and all the birds they emitted strange chirps.

The earthquake affected the grounds and water in all the area hit. In particular, between Cosenza and Castiglione Cosentino the ground appeared moved such that it looked like the land had been plowed; the cliffs were cracked and split; some water sources were diminished, others became turbid (murky); wells went dry. 

Earthquake of 12 February 1854 

The earthquake claimed the lives of 4-6 persons out of a population of 2,988 in Marano Marchesato.  Many homes collapsed, 100 out of 424.  The remaining homes were damaged and rendered uninhabitable. The church of the Assunta, and SS. Mo Rosario were nearly collapsed.  The community clock collapsed.

The affected area around Cosenza claimed about 500 lives.  The agricultural communites surrounding Cosenza were already utilizing insufficient productive methods of cultivation.  The tremor resulted in the inability to use many of the public cultivation land.  Transportation, already difficult in the area, was reduced from cart to the back of the mule, adversely affecting any expedient recovery aid to the area.

The areas around Cosenza most affected were Sant'Ippolito, Rende, Cosenza, Dipignano, Carolei, and Paterno Calabro.  Large and deep cracks were formed and many landslides occurred, aggravated by the very heavy rains that occurred during the previous two months of the quake.  In Cerisano sulphureous fumes were seeping from a crack; near Saint Fili liquification of the ground was observed.

Earthquake of 8 September 1905 

The earthquake produced serious damages in Marano.  While not many buildings collapsed, the damages to the homes were such that the possibility of reepair was doubtful.  The greatest damage was felt by the farmhouses in the outlying countryside.  Considerable damage occured to the two churches and the public buildings.  Seven victims were reported and 416 homes were in need of repair. 

The homes that were affected the worst were those that were already damaged by seismic events and also due to poor construction (pebbles, mud and straw.)  The better constructed homes of the "Americani" (those who made money in America and returned to build homes) predominantly survived the quake. 

The earthquake was accompanied by an intense rumble of thunder and sounds similar to "a train entering the station ". Many observed a flare or a clear lightning bolt in coincidence with the jolt. Others described a luminous phenomenon similar to the aurora borealis continued from a single strip of fire. Vesuvio and Stromboli increased their activity before the earthquake.

The earthquake affected all of Calabria and parts of Sicily.

Earthquake of 28 December 1908 

A strong earthquake but did not damage buildings in Marano Marchesato.


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