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The Italian territory is vulnerable and is often affected by important natural phenomena. These are not always predictable, and we must learn to defend ourselves from them. In these days of 2012, the seismic events in northern Italy have severely stretched the social and industrial structure of one of the most productive areas of Europe, the richness of which derives from a special combination of natural, cultural, social and economic factors, which need to be carefully preserved and valued. Even the scientific community of the Earth sciences is called upon to take on this difficult task. Careful reflection of the ethical value and social impact of our studies can no longer be postponed, if we, as geoscientists, want to have an active role in society. [...]
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