Analysis of the seismicity of Southeastern Sicily: a proposed tectonic interpretation

R. Azzaro, M. S. Barbano


Southeastern Sicily is one of the Italian regions with high seismic risk and is characterised by the occurrence in the past of large destructive events (MS = 6.4-7.3) over a territory which is densely urbanised today. The main earthquakes were analysed and some minor damaging shocks reviewed to investigate the main seismogenic features of the region. The comparison between the pattern of seismicity and evidence of Quaternary tectonics allowed us to propose a first tentative, tectonic interpretation of the earthquakes. On the whole, the seismicity of SE Sicily seems distributed along regional fault systems which have had a role in the recent geodynamic evolution of the area. The Malta escarpment, the only structure whose late Quaternary-recent activity is currently known, appears the most probable source for earthquakes with about 7 magnitude. Although no evidence of tectonics subsequent to the middle Pleistocene is available for them, the Scicli line and the NE-SW fault system delimiting the northern sector of the Hyblean plateau seem seismically active with events with maximum magnitude of 5.2 and 6.4, respectively.


Historical seismicity;Macroseismics;source parameters;quaternary tectonics;seismogenic faults;hyblean plateau;SE Sicily

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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN:  2037-416X