NEWS - Clarence and the earthquake of 1887

Written by Marcus Bicknell on .

Helen Blanc-Francard writes...

The construction of all the pleasure palaces and the growth of urban development along the French and Italian riviera were all the more astonishing and risky because it had been known for centuries that the Southern Alpine region was sitting on an active  earthquake zone -  indeed one of the most active seismic areas in Western Europe countries.

In the morning of  the 23rd February 1887 and ten years after arriving in Bordighera, Clarence too was reminded that, just below the surface of the ground, one of the great uncontrollable  forces of nature was just lying dormant.  A force that could change his world for ever:  devastate the landscapes he knew so well, cover and melt the rocks he was studying, scatter his archives, in short, destroy his life's work.,83.html   Here's a scan of a newspaper article
earthquake riviera 1887Many people fled the coast (Louis Pasteur among them).  Where was Clarence, what was he doing at that time, how did he react?

(Even today the ground regularly shakes. On the 8th of April this year the latest earthquake measured 5.2 magnitude on the Richter scale -,845684.php)

Note from Marcus: in my chronology of Clarence's life, on this web site, 1887 carries the remark "Severe earthquake in Italy; Clarence helps poorer residents in and around Bordighera." I do not immediately have a source for Clarence's response, or more details, but I will post anything I find. I did find this interesting photo though, showing the extent of the damage in places, which is titled "Searching the rubble in Diano Marina, about 30 miles further east of the epicentre than Bordighera, after the Riviera earthquake of 1887 (from the Illustrated London News)"


FaLang translation system by Faboba