GPS measurement of active strains across the Apennines

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Enrico Serpelloni
Marco Anzidei
Paolo Baldi
Giuseppe Casula
Alessandro Galvani


Geodetic data are providing a new prospective in studying active tectonic processes that are occurring in penin- sular Italy. In this paper we use a recently published GPS velocity solution, obtained by merging a data set of permanent and non-permanent networks spanning the 1991-2002 time interval, to provide new quantitative con- straints of the active deformation rates across the Apennines Chain and the Calabrian Arc. The velocity field, given with respect to a fixed Eurasian frame, has been used to compute horizontal strain-rates within polygonal regions that connect and include geodetic stations, and to draw velocity cross sections along 5 different profiles through this region. The computed strain-rates provide a picture of the regional deformation field, which is in agreement with other seismological and geological data, and show that the Apennines are mainly extending in a SW-NE direction, while in Calabria extension is NW-SE oriented. Indications of active shortening are present only in the outer Northern Apennines. The velocity profiles across the Northern and Southern Apennines, along the Tyrrhenian Sea and Calabria, provide a quantitative measurement of the active extension and shortening rates, which are taking up at a more local scale.

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Serpelloni E, Anzidei M, Baldi P, Casula G, Galvani A. GPS measurement of active strains across the Apennines. Ann. Geophys. [Internet]. 2006Dec.25 [cited 2021Sep.21];49(1). Available from:

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