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AuthorsChiaraluce, L. 
TitleUnravelling the complexity of Apenninic extensional fault systems: A review of the 2009 L’Aquila earthquake (Central Apennines, Italy)
Issue DateSep-2012
Series/Report no./42(2012)
KeywordsNormal faults; Listric faults; Seismicity; Fluids; L'Aquila sequence
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.06. Seismology::04.06.01. Earthquake faults: properties and evolution 
AbstractThe 2009 L'Aquila sequence activated a normal fault system 50 km long in the Central Apennines, composed of two main NW-trending faults 12–16 km long: the main high angle L'Aquila segment and the Campotosto listric fault. The MW 6.1 L'Aquila mainshock nucleated on the Paganica fault at a depth of ∼8.6 km and cut through the upper crust producing coseismic surface slip of up to 10 cm observed along a strike length of ∼13 km. Analysis of historical seismicity and data collected in paleo-seismological trenches suggest that this event filled a >500-year gap. In contrast, the blind Campotosto listric fault is composed of different fault segments displaying abrupt changes in dip at a depth where major events nucleate suggesting a rheological and geometrical control on stress concentration. A foreshock sequence that started around 4 months before the L'Aquila mainshock activated the deepest portion of the Paganica fault and marked the onset of large variations in elastic properties of the crustal volume. The variations have been modelled in terms of dilatancy and diffusion processes, corroborating the hypothesis that fluids play a key role in the nucleation process of extensional faults in the crust.
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