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Authors: Ceccaroni, E.* 
Ameri, G.* 
Gomez Capera, A. A.* 
Galadini, F.* 
Title: The 2nd century AD earthquake in central Italy: archaeoseismological data and seismotectonic implications
Journal: Natural Hazards 
Series/Report no.: 2/50(2009)
Issue Date: Aug-2009
DOI: 10.1007/s11069-009-9343-x
Keywords: Archaeoseismology
Historical seismology
Central Italy
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.06. Seismology::04.06.05. Historical seismology 
Abstract: Abstract The 2nd century AD earthquake in central Italy is only known by an epigraph that mentions restorations to a damaged weighing-house at the ancient locality of Pagus Interpromium. The available seismic catalogues report this event with the conventional date of 101 AD, a magnitude M aw of 6.3, and an epicentral location at the village of San Valentino in Abruzzo Citeriore, in the province of Pescara. In order to improve the knowledge of the damage pattern, we gathered all the archaeological data collected during modern excavations at sites located in the area, which were presumably struck by the earthquake. This information is mainly represented by (1) stratigraphic units due to the sudden collapse of buildings over still frequented floors; (2) stratigraphic units demonstrating restoration or re-building of edifices; (3) stratigraphic units formed as the result of the abandonment of sites or of their lack of frequentation for decades or centuries. Only stratigraphic evidence consistent with an earthquake occurrence during the 2nd century AD has been considered. The most recent archaeological material found in a collapsed unit is a coin of Antoninus Pius, dated at 147–148 AD. This may represent a post quem date very close to the occurrence of the earthquake. The gathered information, plus the stratigraphic data that excluded the earthquake occurrence at some sites, has allowed us to roughly delineate an area of possible damage, including the Sulmona Plain and surrounding areas. Comparisons between the possible 2nd century damage distribution and (i) the damage patterns of more recent historical events that have struck the investigated area, (ii) the distribution of virtual intensities obtained by simulating an earthquake having an epicenter in the Sulmona Plain and applying an intensity attenuation relationship and (iii) a shaking scenario obtained by modelling the activation of the major active fault of the Sulmona Plain area (the Mt. Morrone fault) have revealed consistency between the ancient earthquake and the activation of this fault. Since no other historical events can be attributed to this active fault, we conclude that the time that has elapsed since the last fault activation should be in the order of 1,850 years, i.e. a time span that is very close to the recurrence interval of Apennine seismogenic sources. Moreover, considering the fault length, the causative source may be responsible for earthquakes with M up to 6.6–6.7. The comparison between the presumed 2nd century damage and the shaking scenario suggests that the magnitude mentioned is consistent with the presumed effects of the ancient earthquake. Finally, considering that Sulmona (the most important town in the region investigated) is located in the middle of the Mt. Morrone fault hanging wall, we consider it as the probable epicentral area. Therefore, to summarise the information on the 2nd century AD earthquake, we can conclude that (i) it occurred shortly after 147–148 AD; (ii) a magnitude M w 6.6–6.7 can be attributed to it and (iii) the probable macroseismic epicentral area was Sulmona.
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