Aerial inventory of surficial geological effects induced by the recent Emilia earthquake (Italy): preliminary report

Giovanni Bertolini, Chiara Fioroni


As a consequence of the two main shocks that recently struck the central alluvial Po Plain (May 20, 2012, Ml 5.9, and May 29, 2012, Ml 5.8), a great number of surficial geologic disturbances appeared over a wide area (ca. 500 km2), which extended up to 20 km from the epicenters. The affected area includes Mirabello, San Carlo, Sant'Agostino (Province of Ferrara), San Felice, Cavezzo, Concordia (Modena), Moglia and Quistello (Mantova). Most of the surficial effects that were observed during this study were clearly induced (directly or indirectly) by sand liquefaction phenomena, such as sand volcanoes, burst of water and sand from domestic wells, tension cracks, lateral spreading and associated deformation, graben-like fracturing, and sink-holes. Other effects can probably be ascribed simply to the shaking of the ground (e.g., small collapses of irrigation canal walls). Lastly, there were also some features of dubious origin, such as two 'yellow crop spots' that are cited here with reservations. All of these data were surveyed by means of a small airplane that was especially adapted for this purpose. The aim of this study was to furnish a wide-ranging image of the surface deformation over the whole area impacted by these recent earthquakes, as an instrument towards more exhaustive research, both at the scientific and technical levels (e.g., seismic microzonation). […]


Earthquake; Liquefaction; Geological effects; Aerial survey

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