Natural Hazards

, Volume 76, Issue 3, pp 1849–1891 | Cite as

Environmental effects of the December 28, 1908, Southern Calabria–Messina (Southern Italy) earthquake

  • V. Comerci
  • E. Vittori
  • A. M. Blumetti
  • E. Brustia
  • P. Di Manna
  • L. Guerrieri
  • M. Lucarini
  • L. Serva
Original Paper


The review of all available contemporary documents, i.e., technical and photographic reports, newspapers, and other archive material, of the 1908, M 7.1, Messina–Reggio Calabria earthquake has allowed to recognize and classify a large number (365) of independent environmental effects of the earthquake and the subsequent tsunami. The effects have been categorized as slope movement, ground settlement, ground vertical movement and coastal retreat, liquefaction, ground crack, hydrological anomaly, gas emission, light, and rumble. No undisputable evidence of surface faulting has been pointed out. Nevertheless, the widespread and rather homogeneous subsidence of the coastal area of Messina (40–70 cm) might have been caused by slip along a NNE–SSW-trending, east-dipping fault, corresponding to the here proposed Messina Lineament. Likewise, slips along the Reggio Calabria, Armo and Motta San Giovanni faults, suggested by coastal subsidence and slides, ground cracks, and leveling data, cannot be ruled out. A large part of the achieved information has allowed to evaluate the epicentral intensity and local intensities at 74 sites, by applying the environmental seismic intensity scale ESI 2007. This study has led to the most comprehensive picture of the distribution and characteristics of coseismic environmental effects of that earthquake, a crucial knowledge to better estimate the future impact of a similar earthquake on a region that has seen a broad, and often poorly concerned, urban and infrastructural development since then.


1908 Southern Calabria–Messina earthquake Earthquake environmental effects ESI scale Earthquake scenario Southern Italy 



The authors wish to thank the three anonymous reviewers for their helpful criticisms and suggestions that significantly contributed improving the manuscript and the Italian parliamentary library’s office for information and public relations, for the support in finding the original documents.

Supplementary material

11069_2014_1573_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (154 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLSX 154 kb)


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Newspapers, Magazines and Official Gazettes containing information reported in the Appendix

  1. Corriere della Sera, 1908.12.29, Milano 1908Google Scholar
  2. Corriere della Sera, 1909.01.01, Milano 1909Google Scholar
  3. Daily Journal, 1908.12.31, Stevens Point (Wisconsin – U.S.A.)Google Scholar
  4. Gazzetta Ufficiale del Regno d’Italia, 1908.12.29, n. 303, RomaGoogle Scholar
  5. Gazzetta Ufficiale del Regno d’Italia, 1909.01.02, n. 26, RomaGoogle Scholar
  6. Gazzetta Ufficiale del Regno d’Italia, 1909.01.04, n. 2, RomaGoogle Scholar
  7. Gazzetta Ufficiale del Regno d’Italia, 1909.01.08, n. 5, RomaGoogle Scholar
  8. Gazzetta Ufficiale del Regno d’Italia, 1909.01.13, n. 9, RomaGoogle Scholar
  9. Gazzetta Ufficiale del Regno d’Italia, 1909.01.15, n. 11, RomaGoogle Scholar
  10. Gazzetta Ufficiale del Regno d’Italia, 1909.01.22, n. 18, RomaGoogle Scholar
  11. Gazzetta Ufficiale del Regno d’Italia, 1909.01.25, n. 20, RomaGoogle Scholar
  12. Giornale di Sicilia, 1908.12.28/29, Palermo 1908Google Scholar
  13. Giornale di Sicilia, 1908.12.29/30, Palermo 1908Google Scholar
  14. Giornale di Sicilia, 1908.12.30/31, Palermo 1908Google Scholar
  15. Giornale di Sicilia, 1908.12.31/1909.01.01, Palermo 1909Google Scholar
  16. Il Mattino, 1908.12.31/1909.01.01, Napoli 1909Google Scholar
  17. Il Messaggero, 1908.12.29, Roma 1908Google Scholar
  18. La Domenica del Corriere, 1909.01.17/24, Milano 1909Google Scholar
  19. L’Ora, 1908.12.28, Palermo 1908Google Scholar
  20. L’Ora, 1908.12.29, Palermo 1908Google Scholar
  21. L’Ora, 1908.12.30, Palermo 1908Google Scholar
  22. L’Ora, 1908.12.31, Palermo 1908Google Scholar
  23. L’Ora, 1909.01.01, Palermo 1909Google Scholar
  24. L’Ora, 1909.01.02, Palermo 1909Google Scholar
  25. L’Ora, 1909.01.07, Palermo 1909Google Scholar
  26. L’Ora, 1909.01.10, Palermo 1909Google Scholar
  27. The Daily Review, 1908.12.30, Hayward (California – U.S.A.)Google Scholar
  28. The Evening News, 1908.12.29, Ada (Oklahoma – U.S.A.)Google Scholar
  29. The Sun, 1908.12.31, Lowell (Massachusetts – U.S.A.)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. Comerci
    • 1
  • E. Vittori
    • 1
  • A. M. Blumetti
    • 1
  • E. Brustia
    • 1
  • P. Di Manna
    • 1
  • L. Guerrieri
    • 1
  • M. Lucarini
    • 1
  • L. Serva
    • 1
  1. 1.ISPRA (Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale) – Geological Survey of ItalyRomeItaly

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