Ground effects induced by the 2012 seismic sequence in Emilia: implications for seismic hazard assessment in the Po Plain

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Pio Di Manna
Luca Guerrieri
Luigi Piccardi
Eutizio Vittori
Doriano Castaldini
Andrea Berlusconi
Livio Bonadeo
Valerio Comerci
Francesca Ferrario
Roberto Gambillara
Franz Livio
Mauro Lucarini
Alessandro Maria Michetti


Since May 16, 2012, a seismic sequence has affected a wide portion of the Emilia Region (northern Italy), chiefly for the Modena and Ferrara Provinces. The first mainshock (Ml 5.9; focal depth, ca. 6 km) occurred on May 20, 2012, with the epicenter located a few kilometers north of Finale Emilia. A second main shock (Ml 5.8; focal depth, ca. 10 km) occurred on May 29, 2012, about 12 km west of the first earthquake, with the epicenter near Medolla (Figure 1). The seismic sequence has been characterized by five other Ml ≥5 events, and more than 2,300 aftershocks of lower magnitude, until the end July 2012. The distribution of the aftershocks identifies a WNW-ESE-trending zone ca. 40 km long that is characterized by NNE-SSW nearly pure compression, as indicated by the focal mechanisms [e.g., QRCMT 2012]. This report focuses on the many ground effects that were induced by this seismic sequence, as mainly cracks, liquefaction-type phenomena, and hydrological anomalies. The aim is to provide a complete representation of such effects, to: illustrate their type, size and areal distribution; identify the zones in the affected area that were most prone to the occurrence of ground effects (i.e., more susceptible to local geological instability in the case of earthquake occurrence); carry out an independent assessment of the intensities of the earthquakes through the ESI 2007 intensity scale [Guerrieri and Vittori 2007], which is based only on coseismic effects on the natural environment. […]

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Di Manna, P., Guerrieri, L., Piccardi, L., Vittori, E., Castaldini, D., Berlusconi, A., Bonadeo, L., Comerci, V., Ferrario, F., Gambillara, R., Livio, F., Lucarini, M. and Michetti, A. M. (2012) “Ground effects induced by the 2012 seismic sequence in Emilia: implications for seismic hazard assessment in the Po Plain”, Annals of Geophysics, 55(4). doi: 10.4401/ag-6143.

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