Down-hole geophysical characterization of middle-upper Quaternary sequences in the Apennine Foredeep, Mirabello, Italy

Luca Minarelli, Sara Amoroso, Gabriele Tarabusi, Marco Stefani, Gabriele Pulelli


The 2012 earthquakes sequence stroke a wide area of the alluvial plain in the Emilia-Romagna Region and triggered a new research interest on the role of the subsurface stratigraphic architecture and petrophysical property distribution in the modulation of the local seismic effects. Few direct shear wave velocity V_S data were however available below the depth of 50m. The only available V_S measurements were obtained from an anticline area, characterized by a reduced stratigraphic thickness and peculiar sedimentary facies, hardly representative of the majority of the alluvial plain subsurface. The study provides the first V_S profile available from middle-upper Quaternary successions deposited into a fast subsiding syncline area of the Apennine Foredeep Basin. The P-wave velocity V_P and the S-wave velocity V_S logs fill in the previous data gap on the geophysical parameters needed for the estimation of the local seismic response. Both V_P and V_S logs were continuously acquired to the depth of 265 m. The log records a velocity increase with depth, punctuated by sharp increases at some stratigraphic discordance surfaces. The value of 800 m/s that characterizes the “seismic bedrock”, as defined by the Italian building code [NTC 2008] was never reached at any depth. The investigated succession records a depositional evolution from deltaic-marine to alluvial plain conditions, punctuated by six glacio-eustatic depositional cycles, developed in Middle-Upper Quaternary times. The stratigraphic units described in the syncline log were correlated at a regional scale, with the thinner anticline succession of Mirandola. Correlatable units deposited into syncline and anticline areas reveal similar shear wave velocity values, supporting the regional extrapolation of the measured values.


Shear wave velocity; Deep geophysical test; 2012 Emilia earthquake; Emilia-Romagna stratigrafic units; Active tectonics

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