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Earthquake engineering and engineering seismology greatly rely on the information gathered from observed data. This is especially true when it comes to ground motion intensity measures, which are related to the damaging potential of earthquakes. Observed maxima of peak ground acceleration (PGA) and peak ground velocity (PGV) can provide reference values for hazard assessment, which often needs to extrapolate towards large return periods. This simple study attempts to reconstruct the history of the largest values of PGA and PGV observed in Italy since 1972. Results reveal that the current maxima of PGA and PGV values were recorded during the 2016 central Italy earthquake sequence. For comparison, up-to-date global trends of PGA and PGV maxima are also compiled, following relevant literature on the topic and investigating a number of international databases. It is found that these trends, which are roughly linear in logarithmic scale, correspond to the increase of ground motion records worldwide.
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