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Surface faulting is, together with strong ground shaking, a hazard associated with major earthquake
faults. Assessing surface faulting potential of a given active tectonic structure is a fundamental
prerequisite to adequately plan the use of territories and to perform new constructions, in order
to act practices aimed to mitigate the associated risk. Assessing the surface faulting potential
represents also ground for correctly performing re-construction and retrofitting of buildings and
infrastructures during post-earthquake activities. We investigated a branch of a major seismogenic
normal fault in the central Apennines of Italy, the Campi-Preci fault, along which the monumental
Sant’Eutizio Abbey is located. The medieval Abbey is one of the most important cultural/religious
edifices of the central Apennines, heavily damaged by the MW 6.5 October 30, 2016, earthquake,
focused a few km to the south. Our study, based on field geological, geomorphological and structural
survey and trenching investigations revealed that I) the trace of the Campi-Preci active fault
branch is not actually located where presently reported in the available literature, II) the supposed
morpho-tectonic features (basically, some km-long scarp carved on the Meso-Cenozoic carbonate
bedrock), that suggested the presence of the fault segment in the area of the Sant’Eutizio Abbey,
are not related to the active fault but are probably associated to a presently inactive reverse fault
and III) the Sant’Eutizio Abbey is likely not potentially affected by primary surface faulting. Our
work highlights that only a comprehensive multidisciplinary approach allows to correctly assess
surface faulting potential in both seismotectonic and engineering perspectives.
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