Site effects evaluation in Catania (Italy) by means 0f 1-D numerical analysis

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Antonio Ferraro
Salvatore Grasso
Maria Rossella Massimino


A probabilistic seismic hazard analysis (PSHA) determines the probability rate of exceeding of various levels of ground motion in a specified period of time, in a given area. On the other hand, the neo-deterministic seismic hazard assessment (NDSHA) is based on modeling techniques, developed from physical knowledge of the seismic source process and of the propagation of seismic waves, which can realistically simulate the ground motion due to an earthquake by means of synthetic seismograms. The NDSHA confirms that peak ground acceleration values are larger than those given by the PSHA in areas where large earthquakes are observed and in areas identified as prone to large earthquakes, such as in the case of the city of Catania (Italy). The city of Catania, located on the eastern part of Sicily, is one of the most seismically active areas of Italy. The Val di Noto earthquake of January 11, 1693 is considered one of the biggest earthquakes which occurred in Italy. Site response analyses have been developed for a group of 3 test sites in the city of Catania (Italy). On the sites are localised some strategic buildings to upgrade against seismic risk. The analysis of seismic ground response at the sites was conducted using a numerical method, which is developed in three main phases: the definition of the geometric, geological and geotechnical model of the subsurface, the definition of the seismic input (synthetic or recorded), the choice of one or more computer codes to use and process the results. The reconstruction of the geological and geotechnical model of the subsurface has highlighted a morphology quite irregular especially with regard to the covers.  One-dimensional local site response analyses have been performed assuming that all geologic boundaries are horizontal and the response of soil deposits is predominantly caused by waves propagating vertically from the underlying bedrock. Equivalent linear analysis using EERA code has been performed in this study. One of the targets of the paper is the development of measures for the seismic retrofitting of buildings.

Seismic retrofitting and/or improving have to be definitely considered a multidisciplinary subject, which depends in fact on many factors, such as: local site effects and the dynamic interaction between the foundation soil and the structure. The accurate investigation on the structure and the surrounding soil is the first fundamental step for a realistic evaluation of the structure seismic performance.

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Ferraro A, Grasso S, Massimino MR. Site effects evaluation in Catania (Italy) by means 0f 1-D numerical analysis. Ann. Geophys. [Internet]. 2018Jun.22 [cited 2022Aug.17];61(2):SE224. Available from:
Toward new approaches to the evaluation of seismic vulnerability and potential risk levels in Eastern Sicily

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