Liquefaction phenomena along the paleo-Reno River caused by the May 20, 2012, Emilia (northern Italy) earthquake

Giorgos Papathanassiou, Riccardo Caputo, Dimitra Rapti-Caputo


On the May 20, 2012 (04:03:52 local time; 02:03:52 UTC), a moderate earthquake (Ml 5.9) [Scognamiglio et al. 2012, this volume] with a focal mechanism showing E-W-trending, S-dipping, reverse-faulting occurred in the eastern sector of the alluvial plain of the Po River, close to the border between the Regions of Emilia-Romagna and Lombardia (northern Italy). The tectonic structure is completely blind, but it was well known from a dense grid of seismic profiles for hydrocarbon explorations [e.g., Pieri and Groppi 1981, Toscani et al. 2009]. The earthquake triggered extensive liquefaction-induced ground effects at the surface, and caused severe structural damage to nonreinforced masonry and precast industrial buildings within the broader epicentral area. The hypocenter was at 44.89 ˚N, 11.23 ˚E, at a depth of 6.3 km [Scognamiglio et al. 2012], while the maximum acceleration was recorded in Mirandola, with peak ground acceleration 310 cm/s2 and 264 cm/s2 along the vertical and horizontal components, respectively [Bozzoni et al. 2012, this volume]. In this report, we focus on a zone including the Sant'A-gostino, San Carlo and Mirabello villages (west Ferrara Province), which were built along an abandoned reach of the Reno River and where liquefaction phenomena were particularly diffuse, with very intense local effects. […]


Seismic hazard assessment; Po Plain; Morphogenic earthquakes

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