Sicily and southern Calabria focal mechanism database: a valuable tool for local and regional stress-field determination

Luciano Scarfì, Alfio Messina, Carmelo Cassisi


In this work, we present a new catalog of focal mechanisms calculated for earthquakes recorded in Sicily and southern Calabria. It comprises about 300 solutions, for events with magnitudes ranging from 2.7 to 4.8 that occurred from 1999 to 2011. We used P-wave polarities to compute the fault-plane solutions. Two main goals are achieved. For the first, the catalog allows the stress regime and kinematics characterizing the studied area to be depicted at a regional and more local scale. In particular, moving along the tectonic lineament that extends from the Aeolian Islands to the Ionian Sea, there is a change from a regime characterized by sub-horizontal P-axes, ca. NW-SE directed, to an extensive one in the Calabro-Peloritan Arc, where T-axes striking in a NW-SE direction prevail. Our results also show that part of the seismicity is clustered along the main active seismogenic structures, of which the focal mechanisms indicate the kinematics. Finally, in the Etna volcano area, different stress fields act at different depths due to the combination of the regional tectonics, the strong pressurization of the deep magmatic system, and the dynamics of the shallower portion of the volcano. As a second goal, we highlight that the catalog also represents a valuable tool, through the data distribution on the internet, for further studies directed towards improving our understanding of the geodynamic complexity of the region, and for a better characterization of the seismogenic sources.


Focal mechanisms; Local seismic network; Stress field

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