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Authors: Pucci, Stefano* 
Villani, Fabio* 
Civico, Riccardo* 
Di Naccio, Deborah* 
Porreca, Massimiliano* 
Benedetti, L.* 
Gueli, A.* 
Stella, G.* 
Baccheschi, Paola* 
Pantosti, Daniela* 
Title: Complexity of the 2009 L'Aquila earthquake causative fault system (Abruzzi Apennines, Italy) and effects on the Middle Aterno Quaternary basin arrangement
Journal: Quaternary Science Reviews 
Series/Report no.: /213 (2019)
Publisher: Elsevier
Issue Date: 23-Apr-2019
DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2019.04.014
Keywords: Quaternary geology
L'Aquila earthquake
structural geology
Middle Aterno Valley
active fault
Subject Classification04.04. Geology 
04.07. Tectonophysics 
Abstract: An Mw 6.1, devastating earthquake, on April 6, 2009, struck the Middle Aterno Valley (Abruzzi Apennines, Italy) due to the activation of a poorly known normal fault system. Structural analysis of the fault population and investigation of the relationships with the Quaternary continental deposits through integrated field and laboratory techniques were conducted in order to reconstruct the long-term, tectono-sedimentary evolution of the basin and hypothesize the size of the fault segment. A polyphasic evolution of the Middle Aterno Valley is characterized by a conjugate, ∼E-W and ∼NS-striking fault system, during the early stage of basin development, and by a dip-slip, NW-striking fault system in a later phase. The old conjugate fault system controlled the generation of the largest sedimentary traps in the area and is responsible for the horst and graben structures within the basin. During the Early Pleistocene the E-W and NS system reactivated with dip-slip kinematics. This gave rise to intra-basin bedrock highs and a significant syn-tectonic deposition, causing variable thickness and hiatuses of the continental infill. Subsequently, since the end of the Early Pleistocene, with the inception of the NW-striking fault system, several NW-strands linked into longer splays and their activity migrated toward a leading segment affecting the Paganica-San Demetrio basin: the Paganica-San Demetrio fault alignment. The findings from this work constrain and are consistent with the subsurface basin geometry inferred from previous geophysical investigations. Notably, two major elements of the ∼E-W and ∼NS-striking faults likely act as transfer to the nearby stepping active fault systems or form the boundaries, as geometric complexities, that limit the Paganica-San Demetrio fault segment overall length to 19 ± 3 km. The resulting size of the leading fault segment is coherent with the extent of the 6 April 2009 L'Aquila earthquake causative fault. The positive match between the geologic long-term and coseismic images of the 2009 seismogenic fault highlights that the comprehensive reconstruction of the deformation history offers a unique contribution to the understanding faults seismic potential.
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