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Authors: Munafò, Irene*
Malagnini, Luca*
Buttinelli, Mauro*
Herrmann, R. B.*
Anselmi, Mario*
Akinci, Aybige*
Boschi, Enzo*
Title: The 2012 Ferrara seismic sequence: from a 1D reliable crustal structure for moment tensor solutions to strong implications for seismic hazard
Issue Date: 25-Sep-2013
Keywords: seismology
Abstract: On May 20 2012, an event of Ml 5.9 (Mw 5.6) stuck the southem edge of the Po river plain (Pianura Padana). The earthquake was preceded by a foreshock of Ml 4.1 (Mw 3.8), less than 3 hours before the Mw 5.6 main. Hypocentral depths were 6.3 km for both events. Centroid depths were 5 and 6 km, respectively. The activated fault was a reverse one, dipping to the south. Then a complex seismic sequence started, in which more than six earthquakes with Ml greater than 5 stuck the area, the last one on June 3, 2012. Aftershocks delineated a 50 km long and 10-15 km wide zone, approximately elongated in the WE direction. More than 2100 events were located between May 19 and June 25 2012 by the INGV National Seismic Network, 80 of them with Ml greater than 3.5. The damage due to the Ml 5+ earthquakes was widespread, as they severely hit historical towns and industrial infrastructures. However, a striking inconsistency exists between the relatively small moment magnitudes and the corrisponding high level of damage. In order to define a velocity structure for the crust beneath the Pianura Padana, to be used for waveform inversion of moment tensors, we gathered all the geophysical and geological information available for the area. The model is characterized by very thick and shallow Quaternary sediments, to be used for the inversion of broadband waveforms for moment tensor (MT) solutions, in the frequency band between 0.02-0.1 Hz. We calculated moment tensors for 20 events down to Mw~3.2. We demonstrate how surface waves dominate the seismograms in the region, which may have played a major role in enhancing the damage to industrial structures observed in the epicentral area. Synthetic seismograms computed using the developed model well reproduced the anomalous durations of the ground motion observed in Pianura Padana, also highlighting important implications for the seismic hazard in the entire area. The present seismic hazard assessment as well as the size of the historical earthquakes in the region (and so their recurrence times), may need to be re-evaluated in the light of this new results.
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