Searching for the effects of the May-June 2012 Emilia seismic sequence (northern Italy): medium-depth deformation structures at the periphery of the epicentral area

Lisa Borgatti, Antonio Edoardo Bracci, Stefano Cremonini, Giovanni Martinelli


In 2012, a seismic sequence occurred in the lowlands of the Emilia-Romagna Region (northern Italy), between the borders of the Modena, Ferrara and Bologna Provinces. It consisted of seven mainshocks (5.9 > Ml > 5) that were recorded between May 20 and 29, 2012 [INGV 2012a] and 2,200 minor earthquakes [INGV 2012b]. An interferometric analysis [Bignami et al. 2012, Salvi et al. 2012, this volume] highlighted three main deformation areas, each of which was 12 km wide (from S to N) and 10 km to 20 km long in an ESE-WNW to E-W direction, thus affecting an area of about 600 km2 (Figure 1). Field and aerial geological surveys recorded numerous surficial effects, such as: (i) sediment liquefaction [Crespellani et al. 2012]; (ii) localized ground fissures resembling surficial faulting [Fioravante and Giretti 2012] (Figure 2); (iii) groundwater levels rising up to 400 cm above the local ground level in phreatic wells during the mainshocks (lower values were observed in confined aquifers); and (iv) dormancy of previously known sinkholes [Borgatti et al. 2010, Cremonini 2010a, and references therein]. Some of the observed surface phenomena were previously recorded as coseismic effects during the earthquakes of Ferrara (1570) and Argenta (1624) [Boschi et al. 1995, Galli 2000], together with the early rising of the water level of the Po River in the Stellata section. […]


Emilia 2012 earthquake; Seismic effect; Faulting; Seismic reflection survey

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