Active compressional tectonics, Quaternary capable faults, and the seismic landscape of the Po Plain (northern Italy)

Alessandro Maria Michetti, Francesca Giardina, Franz Livio, Karl Mueller, Leonello Serva, Giancanio Sileo, Eutizio Vittori, Roberto Devoti, Federica Riguzzi, Cipriano Carcano, Sergio Rogledi, Livio Bonadeo, Fabio Brunamonte, Gianfranco Fioraso


It is commonly believed that the Po Plain is an area of low seismic hazard. This conclusion is essentially a combination of two factors: (1) the historical record of earthquakes, which shows a relatively small number of events of moderate magnitude, and only two significant earthquakes, which occurred in the Middle Ages; and (2) the lack of ad-hoc research on the geology of earthquakes in this area, as although many studies have highlighted the local Quaternary tectonics, only a very few of them have discussed the observed evidence in terms of seismic hazard. In contrast, the data presented in the present study strongly suggest that the level of earthquake hazard in the Po Plain is comparable to that of the well-known seismic areas of the Apennine range, at least in terms of maximum magnitudes. Indeed, the high population density and the concentration of industrial facilities make the Po Plain today one of the more high-risk areas of the Italian territory. [...]


Active compressional tectonics, paleoseismology, seismic hazard, Po Plain foredeep, seismic landscape

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