At the last report 37 people have been killed by a Mg 6.2 earthquake which struck just southeast of Norcia in Central Italy at 03.36 this morning.
The area is prone to large earthquakes due to shallow normal faulting along a NW-SE oriented fault which runs through the Central Apennines. The region is tectonically and geologically complex, involving both subduction of the Adria micro-plate beneath the Apennines from east to west, continental collision between the Eurasia and Africa plates building the Alpine mountain belt further to the north and the opening of the Tyrrhenian basin to the west. It is the same fault which caused the controversial L’Aquila earthquake in 2009, just 45 km south-southeast of last nights event, which left 295 dead and saw 7 scientists prosecuted.
The town of Amatrice has been mostly reduced to rubble although most of the dead have been found in the nearby town of Pescara del Tronto which has been completely levelled. Small towns like these are notoriously old or poorly built meaning even a weaker shallow quake can bring buildings crumbling down.
At least 39 strong aftershocks have hampered the rescue attempts many of which have be over a magnitude 4 and at least 1 reaching a magnitude 5.1
Italian president Matteo Renzi is currently addressing the nation saying that no area wil be forgotten in the relief effort.
I will add more as more information as it comes to light.