Spatial distribution of horizontal seismic strain in the Apennines from historical earthquakes

G. Selvaggi


Horizontal principal seismic strain rate axes have been calculated within a regular mesh of triangles covering the Italian peninsula in a time interval of 700 years. I have used both the method of Kostrov (1974), that requires knowledge of the seismic moment tensor of earthquakes, and the modified version provided by England and Molnar (1997) that makes use of length and kinematics of the activated faults. Seismic moment tensor of historical earthquakes can be inferred from recent literature, while length of faults has been obtained from the observation that strain drop is almost constant for large Apenninic earthquakes. Spatial strain distribution from historical earthquakes shows that the Apennines can be divided into three homogeneous structural arcs (Northern Apenninic, Southern Apenninic and Calabrian arcs) within which strain is roughly constant. Although NE-SW extension is the main deformation process along the two Apenninic arcs it involves a velocity more than five times greater in the Southern Apennines. Along the Calabrian arc, I tested the effect on the strain field of the contemporaneous ~WNW-ESE and ~NNE-SSW extension due to the longitudinal dilatation of the arc during its still ESE migration.


Seismic strain rate;extension rate;Apennines

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