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Authors: Carminati, E.* 
Enzi, S.* 
Camuffo, D.* 
Title: A study on the effects of seismicity on subsidence in foreland basins: an application to the Venice area
Issue Date: 24-Mar-2006
Keywords: subsidence, Venice, Italy, earthquake, liquefaction
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.04. Geology::04.04.01. Earthquake geology and paleoseismology 
Abstract: Foreland basins are flat elongated areas occurring along subduction and collision zones worldwide. We show that, in such basins, subsidence can be induced by earthquakes generated along bordering thrust faults due to coseismic displacement, postseismic displacement and liquefaction-induced compaction. As an example, the potential effects of earthquakes on the subsidence of Venice, which is located in the Po Plain foreland basin, are discussed. It is generally assumed that natural subsidence of Venice is continuous and that subsidence rates are rather constant through time. However, catastrophic pulses of subsidence cannot be ruled out as tought by the sudden disappearance of the island of Malamocco at the beginning of the XII century. The results of numerical models specifically run suggest that the risk of subsidence accelerations in Venice due to coseismic displacements is negligible. Modelling results from literature suggest that postseismic subsidence could be of the order of 1 cm. Although the effects of a single event should be improbably detectable, such a subsidence is not a priori negligible considering the number of seismogenic sources located within 100 km from the town. Historical sources are utilized to discuss the feasibility of liquefaction-induced subsidence in Venice. It is shown that the destruction and sinking of ancient Malamocco is roughly coincident with a strong earthquake cycle that was associated to phenomena that can be explained with liquefaction of sandy layers. Although the historical documents do not permit to establish a clear causal link between the earthquake and land subsidence, it is concluded that liquefaction-induced subsidence cannot be ruled out as a potential source for local subsidence acceleration.
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