The SEISMOFAULTS project: first surveys and preliminary results for the Ionian Sea area, southern Italy

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Andrea Billi
Marco Cuffaro
Laura Beranzoli
Sabina Bigi
Alessandro Bosman
Cinzia Caruso
Alessia Conti
Andrea Corbo
Antonio Costanza
Giuseppe D'Anna
Mariagrazia De Caro
Carlo Doglioni
Davide Embriaco
Gioacchino Fertitta
Francesco Frugoni
Luca Gasperini
Francesco Italiano
Gianluca Lazzaro
Marco Ligi
Eleonora Martorelli
Stephen Monna
Caterina Montuori
Alessandra Nigrelli
Giuseppe Passafiume
Lorenzo Petracchini
Patrizio Petricca
Alina Polonia
Giampaolo Proietti
Livio Ruggiero
Tiziana Sgroi
Maria Chiara Tartarello


The SEISMOFAULTS project ( was set up in 2016 with the general plan of exploring the seismicity of marine areas using deep seafloor observatories. The activity of the first two years (Seismofaults 2017 and 2018) consisted of the installation of a geophysical-geochemical temporary monitoring network over the Ionian Sea floor. Eleven ocean-bottom seismometers with hydrophones (OBS/H) and two seafloor geochemical-geophysical multiparametric observatories were deployed to: (1) identify seismically active faults; (2) identify potential geochemical precursors of earthquakes; and (3) understand possible cause–effect relationships between earthquakes and submarine slides. Furthermore, five gravity cores were collected from the Ionian Sea bottom and ~4082 km of geophysical acquisition, including multibeam and single channel seismic reflection data, were acquired for a total of 4970 km2 high-resolution multibeam bathymetry. Using Niskin bottles, four water column samples were collected: two corresponding at the location of the two multiparametric observatories (i.e., along presumably-active fault zones), one corresponding at a recently discovered mud volcano, and one located above a presumably-active fault zone away from the other three sites. Preliminary results show: (1) a significant improvement in the quality and quantity of seismological records; (2) endogenous venting from presumably active faults; (3) active geofluid venting from a recently-discovered mud volcano; and (4) the correct use of most submarine devices. Preliminary results from the SEISMOFAULTS project show and confirm the potential of multidisciplinary marine studies, particularly in geologically active areas like southern Italy and the Mediterranean Sea.

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How to Cite
Billi A, Cuffaro M, Beranzoli L, Bigi S, Bosman A, Caruso C, Conti A, Corbo A, Costanza A, D’Anna G, De Caro M, Doglioni C, Embriaco D, Fertitta G, Frugoni F, Gasperini L, Italiano F, Lazzaro G, Ligi M, Martorelli E, Monna S, Montuori C, Nigrelli A, Passafiume G, Petracchini L, Petricca P, Polonia A, Proietti G, Ruggiero L, Sgroi T, Tartarello MC. The SEISMOFAULTS project: first surveys and preliminary results for the Ionian Sea area, southern Italy. Ann. Geophys. [Internet]. 2020Jun.27 [cited 2021Jun.23];63(3):SE326. Available from:
Author Biography

Andrea Billi, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, IGAG, Rome, Italy

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