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Authors: Pizzino, L.* 
Burrato, P.* 
Valensise, G.* 
Quattrocchi, F.* 
Title: Geochemical signatures of large active faults: The example of the 5 February 1783, Calabrian earthquake (southern Italy)
Issue Date: 15-Jan-2004
Series/Report no.: /8(2004)
Keywords: 5 February 1783 earthquake, Italy, Calabria, fault zones, fluid geochemistry, Gioia Tauro Plain, recent tectonics
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.02. Exploration geophysics::04.02.01. Geochemical exploration 
Abstract: Five large earthquakes shook southern Calabria in February–March 1783. We focused on the first shock (Me 6.9), which occurred on 5 February in the Gioia Tauro Plain. Most investigators attribute the event to aW-dipping, highangle fault running at the base of the Aspromonte crystalline bedrock on the ESE side of the Plain (Aspromonte Fault). Other workers contend that the earthquake was generated by an E-dipping, low-angle blind fault (Gioia Tauro Fault) similar to the adjacent Messina Straits Fault. In 1999–2000 we carried out four geochemical surveys in the Gioia Tauro Plain with the aim of contributing to this debate with an independent line of evidence.We sampled 240 groundwater sites and measured a suite of in-situ physical and chemical parameters. Our goal was to gain new insight into the seismogenic source by identifying geochemical anomalies associated with the deepening of the hydrological circuits due to the presence of enhanced faulting/fracturing. The deep-fluid signatures are mainly represented by temperature, salinity, total carbon and radon anomalies.We identified three zones of dominant deep fluid discharge: the Nicotera-Galatro area (along the Nicotera-Galatro portion of theNW-trending Nicotera-Gioiosa Jonica lineament), a small NW-SE trending area between Gioia Tauro and Seminara, and the coastline between Rosarno and Palmi. This latter sector locates just above the upper edge of the hypothesised Gioia Tauro Fault. Most of the geochemical anomalies are recorded around Rosarno, at the intersection between the Gioia Tauro Fault and the Nicotera-Gioiosa Jonica lineament. In contrast, no evidence of groundwater deepening and active fracturing was found along the Aspromonte Fault. Based on our new findings we updated the concepts of Geochemically Active Fault Zone and Geochemical Interaction Fault Zone in view of the modern understanding of the hydro-mechanical properties of fault zones and the faulting mechanisms promoting fracture permeability in the crust.
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