The May 2012 Emilia (Italy) earthquakes: preliminary interpretations on the seismogenic source and the origin of the coseismic ground effects

Alberto Pizzi, Vittorio Scisciani


On May 20, 2012, a Ml 5.9 earthquake (T1) occurred in the Emilia-Romagna Region of northern Italy. This was preceded by a Ml 4.1 foreshock on May 19, 2012, and followed by several aftershocks, including two Ml 5.1 events, both on the same day. On May 29, 2012, a second strong event of Ml 5.8 (T2) hit the same region, with its epicenter ca. 12 km to the WSW of the first mainshock, T1. The epicentral area of the seismic sequence covers an alluvial lowland that is occupied by both agricultural and urbanized areas, and there were 17 casualties and about 14,000 people left homeless. […] In the present study, we provide a preliminary model of the seismogenic source(s) responsible for the two mainshocks, by comparing the seismic reflection profile interpretation with the available seismological and interferometric data. Furthermore, we show the coseismic ground effects that were observed in the epicentral area during two field survey campaigns: the first conducted after the May 20, 2012, event and the second soon after the May 29, 2012, earthquake, when several sites were revisited to observe the occurrence of newly formed or 're-activated' liquefaction features. Hence, we discuss the origin and location of the coseismic features observed in the context of the local geological–geomorphological setting and with respect to the epicentral distance. Finally, we provide our interpretation for the question: "Why did the mainshock ruptures not break the surface?" […]


Seismic methods; Earthquake geology and paleoseismology; Structural geology; Earthquake source and dynamics; Tectonics

Full Text:



We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it (Read more).

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