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Italian Expert: Haiti, Chile Earthquakes Not Abnormal

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It is not abnormal that two major earthquakes hit the world in two months, considering that the Earth's plates are in constant movement, an Italian researcher said Monday.

The earthquake in Haiti in January and the temblor in Chile were typical of those geographical areas but not in any way related, said Warner Marzocchi, co-chairman of the World Organization of Volcano Observatories.

"Chile has always experienced such earthquakes. The strongest ever recorded in the world (9.5-magnitude) occurred here in 1960," he said, adding that it was probable that more aftershocks might occur there in coming days.

"Earthquakes tend to cluster in time and space so it's reasonable to expect another event like the one of Saturday," said Marzocchi, who is also a researcher at Italy's Geophysics Institute.

The earthquake in Haiti happened in a teutonic plate very distant from Chile, he told Xinhua.

He said the Haiti earthquake was not extraordinary. "Earthquakes measuring 7.0 or more of magnitude occur 10 times in a year around the world. What turned the Haiti one into a tragedy was that it struck a vulnerable city like Port-au-Prince."

Despite the frequency of such dangerous natural calamities, he brushed aside the risk of a similar earthquake hitting Europe this year.

"Earthquakes might strike Mediterranean countries including Greece, Turkey, the Balkans and Italy but not with the same intensity as in the Pacific area," he noted.

The quake that rocked Haiti on Jan. 12 killed as many as 300,000 people. The Chile quake has so far left more than 700 people dead.

(Xinhua News Agency March 2, 2010)

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