Italy: The Day the Earth Shook

When the first tremors began in the parched, rock-ribbed mountains of western Sicily last week, most of the 3,000 people of Salaparuta took refuge on the slopes just below their hilltop town. There, among their goats and grapevines, they waited in the chilly night for the danger to pass. At 3 a.m. the earth rolled again, at first gently, then with a sickening sway. Before their eyes, Salaparuta crumbled apart like a child's sand castle. Within 30 seconds, the nine-century-old vineyard town was little more than dust. Left standing over the moonlit...