The earthquake was detected at 7:11pm local time, about 66km to the southeast of Perugia, striking a mountainous part of the Marche region and lasting several seconds.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) initially stated the earthquake magnitude as 5.6, but figures from Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology revised it down to 5.4. The exact epicenter of the tremblor remains unclear, but it was relatively shallow, at about 10km below ground.
A video posted by a Huffington Post journalist shows rubble strewn through the streets of Visso, a commune less than 10 km from the epicenter. There are no functioning street lights, suggesting that electricity has been cut.
Within an hour of the earthquake, there was a series of small but noticeable aftershocks, ranging in magnitude from 2.5 to 2.8.
@JackieMilesiF Earthquake 5.4 in Central Italy, I felt it as my chair & table moved as if we were at sea, a wave sensation for a few seconds...
Eyewitnesses reported a powerful tremor in the capital on the western side of the country, saying that centuries-old buildings were shaking.
Wednesday’s quake occurred less than 70km to the north of Amatrice, a village in the seismically unstable central Apennines region that was hit by a series of earthquakes in August, resulting in nearly 300 deaths. The strongest impact there was a 6.2 earthquake on August 24, followed by more than a dozen aftershocks over the next several days.
The latest quake is part of the same seismic process as the temblor that destroyed the town of Amatrice this August, local media reported citing seismologists.