GPS observations of coseismic deformation following the May 20 and 29, 2012, Emilia seismic events (northern Italy): data, analysis and preliminary models

Enrico Serpelloni, Letizia Anderlini, Antonio Avallone, Valentina Cannelli, Adriano Cavaliere, Daniele Cheloni, Ciriaco D'Ambrosio, Elisabetta D'Anastasio, Alessandra Esposito, Grazia Pietrantonio, Anna Rita Pisani, Marco Anzidei, Gianpaolo Cecere, Nicola D'Agostino, Sergio Del Mese, Roberto Devoti, Alessandro Galvani, Angelo Massucci, Daniele Melini, Federica Riguzzi, Giulio Selvaggi, Vincenzo Sepe


In May-July 2012, a seismic sequence struck a broad area of the Po Plain Region in northern Italy. The sequence included two Ml >5.5 mainshocks. The first one (Ml 5.9) occurred near the city of Finale Emilia (ca. 30 km west of Ferrara) on May 20 at 02:03:53 (UTC), and the second (Ml 5.8) occurred on May 29 at 7:00:03 (UTC), about 12 km southwest of the May 20 mainshock (Figure 1), near the city of Mirandola. The seismic sequence involved an area that extended in an E-W direction for more than 50 km, and included seven Ml ≥5.0 events and more than 2,300 Ml >1.5 events ( The focal mechanisms of the main events [Pondrelli et al. 2012, Scognamiglio et al. 2012, this volume] consistently showed compressional kinematics with E-W oriented reverse nodal planes. This sector of the Po Plain is known as a region characterized by slow deformation rates due to the northwards motion of the northern Apennines fold-and-thrust belt, which is buried beneath the sedimentary cover of the Po Plain [Picotti and Pazzaglia 2008, Toscani et al. 2009]. Early global positioning system (GPS) measurements [Serpelloni et al. 2006] and the most recent updates [Devoti et al. 2011, Bennett et al. 2012] recognized that less than 2 mm/yr of SW-NE shortening are accommodated across this sector of the Po Plain, in agreement with other present-day stress indicators [Montone et al. 2012] and known active faults [Basili et al. 2008]. In the present study, we describe the GPS data used to study the coseismic deformation related to the May 20 and 29 mainshocks, and provide preliminary models of the two seismic sources, as inverted from consensus GPS coseismic deformation fields. […]


GPS; Coseismic deformation; Emilia sequence

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