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The Emilia earthquakes of May 20, 2012 (Ml 5.9, INGV; Mw 6.11, http://www.bo.ingv.it/RCMT/) and May 29, 2012 (Ml 5.8, INGV; Mw 5.96, http://www.bo.ingv.it/RCMT/) struck an area that in the national reference seismic hazard model [MPS04; http://zonesismiche.mi.ingv.it, and Stucchi et al. 2011] is characterized by expected horizontal peak ground acceleration (PGA) with a 10% probability of exceedance in 50 years that ranges between 0.10 g and 0.15 g (Figure 1), which is a medium level of seismic hazard in Italy. The strong impact of the earthquakes on a region that is not included among the most hazardous areas of Italy, and the ground motion data recorded by accelerometric networks, have given the impression to the population and the media that the current seismic hazard map is not correct, and thus needs to be updated. Since the MPS04 seismic hazard model was adopted by the current Italian building code [Norme Tecniche per le Costruzioni 2008, hereafter termed NTC08; http://www.cslp.it/cslp/] as the basis to define seismic action (the design spectra), any modification to the seismic hazard model would also affect the building code. The aim of this paper is to briefly present the data that support the seismic hazard model in the area, and to perform some comparisons between recorded ground motion with seismic hazard estimates and design spectra. All of the comparisons presented in this study are for the horizontal components only, as the Italian hazard model did not perform any estimates for the vertical component. […]
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