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Authors: Villani, Fabio* 
Tulliani, Valerio* 
Sapia, Vincenzo* 
Fierro, Elisa* 
Civico, Riccardo* 
Pantosti, Daniela* 
Title: Shallow subsurface imaging of the Piano di Pezza active normal fault (central Italy) by high-resolution refraction and electrical resistivity tomography coupled with time-domain electromagnetic data
Issue Date: 2015
Series/Report no.: /203 (2015)
DOI: 10.1093/gji/ggv399
Keywords: Fault characterization
electrcal resistivity method
seismic tomography
continental neotectonics
Subject Classification04.02. Exploration geophysics 
Abstract: The Piano di Pezza fault is the central section of the 35 km long L’Aquila-Celano active normal fault-system in the central Apennines of Italy. Although palaeoseismic data document high Holocene vertical slip rates (∼1mm yr−1) and a remarkable seismogenic potential of this fault, its subsurface setting and Pleistocene cumulative displacement are still poorly known. We investigated for the first time the shallow subsurface of a key section of the main Piano di Pezza fault splay by means of high-resolution seismic and electrical resistivity tomography coupled with time-domain electromagnetic soundings (TDEM). Our surveys cross a ∼5-m-high fault scarp that was generated by repeated surfacerupturing earthquakes displacing Holocene alluvial fans. We provide 2-D Vp and resistivity images, which show significant details of the fault structure and the geometry of the shallow basin infill material down to 50m depth. Our data indicate that the upper fault termination has a sub-vertical attitude, in agreement with palaeoseismological trench evidence, whereas it dips ∼50◦ to the southwest in the deeper part.We recognize some low-velocity/low-resistivity regions in the fault hangingwall that we relate to packages of colluvial wedges derived from scarp degradation, which may represent the record of some Holocene palaeo-earthquakes.We estimate a ∼13–15m throw of this fault splay since the end of the Last Glacial Maximum (∼18 ka), leading to a 0.7–0.8mm yr−1 throw rate that is quite in accordance with previous palaeoseismic estimation of Holocene vertical slip rates. The 1-D resistivity models from TDEM soundings collected along the trace of the electrical profile significantly match with 2-D resistivity images. Moreover, they indicate that in the fault hangingwall, ∼200m away from the surface fault trace, the pre-Quaternary carbonate basement is at ∼90–100m depth. We therefore provide a minimal ∼150–160m estimate of the cumulative throw of the Piano di Pezza fault system in the investigated section. We further hypothesize that the onset of the Piano di Pezza fault activity may date back to the Middle Pleistocene (∼0.5 Ma), so this is a quite young active normal fault if compared to other mature normal fault systems active since 2–3 Ma in this portion of the central Apennines.
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