During the restoration of the upper church, engineers installed special wires designed to stretch and snap back like elastic during an earthquake to help protect against future tremors. The second earthquake, at 11:42 A.M., which registered 5.7 on the Richter scale and sent shivers up and down the peninsula, caused the damage to … Parts of the lower church of the Basilica reopened its doors in November 1997. In the early afternoon of September 26, 1997 a sequence of earthquakes hit the Italian province of Umbria.