Soil gas geochemical behaviour across buried and exposed faults during the 24 august 2016 central Italy earthquake

Giancarlo Ciotoli, Alessandra Sciarra, Livio Ruggiero, Aldo Annunziatellis, Sabina Bigi


Following the earthquake (ML=6.0) of 24 August 2016 that affected large part of the central Apennine between the municipalities of Norcia (PG) and Amatrice (RI) (central Italy), two soil gas profiles (i.e., 222Rn, 220Rn, CO2 and CO2 flux) were carried out across buried and exposed coseismic fault rupture of the Mt. Vettore fault during the seismic sequence. The objective of the survey was to explore the mechanisms of migration and the spatial behaviour of different gas species near still-degassing active fault. Results provide higher gas and CO2 flux values (about twice for 222Rn and CO2 flux) in correspondence of the buried sector of the fault than those measured across the exposed coseismic rupture. Anomalous peaks due to advective migration are clearly visible on both side of the buried fault (profile 1), whereas the lower soil gas concentrations measured across the exposed coseimic rupture (profile 2) are mainly caused by shallow and still acting diffusive degassing associated to faulting during the seismic sequence. These results confirm the usefulness of the soil gas survey to spatially recognise the shallow geometry of hidden faults, and to discriminate the geochemical migration mechanisms occurring at buried and exposed faults related to seismic activity.


Soil-gas survey and monitoring; Buried and exposed faults; Gas leakage; Coseismic rupture

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