Seismogenesis in Central Apennines, Italy: an integrated analysis of minor earthquake sequences and structural data in the Amatrice-Campotosto area

P. Boncio, G. Lavecchia, G. Milana, B. Rozzi


We present a seismotectonic study of the Amatrice-Campotosto area (Central Italy) based on an integrated
analysis of minor earthquake sequences, geological data and crustal rheology. The area has been affected by
three small-magnitude seismic sequences: August 1992 (M=3.9), June 1994 (M=3.7) and October 1996
(M=4.0). The hypocentral locations and fault plane solutions of the 1996 sequence are based on original data;
the seismological features of the 1992 and 1994 sequences are summarised from literature. The active WSWdipping
Mt. Gorzano normal fault is interpreted as the common seismogenic structure for the three analysed
sequences. The mean state of stress obtained by inversion of focal mechanisms (WSW-ENE-trending deviatoric
tension) is comparable to that responsible for finite Quaternary displacement, showing that the stress field
has not changed since the onset of extensional tectonics. Available morphotectonic data integrated with original
structural data show that the Mt. Gorzano Fault extends for ~28 km along strike. The along-strike displacement
profile is typical of an isolated fault, without significant internal segmentation. The strong evidence
of late Quaternary activity in the southern part of the fault (with lower displacement gradient) is explained in
this work in terms of displacement profile readjustment within a fault unable to grow further laterally. The
depth distribution of seismicity and the crustal rheology yield a thickness of ~15 km for the brittle layer. An
area of ~530 km2 is estimated for the entire Mt. Gorzano Fault surface. In historical times, the northern portion
of the fault was probably activated during the 1639 Amatrice earthquake (I = X, M~ 6.3), but this is not the
largest event we expect on the fault. We propose that a large earthquake might activate the entire 28 km long
Mt. Gorzano Fault, with an expected Mmax up to 6.7.


seismic hazard;normal faulting;seismicity;seismotectonics;active stress

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