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Authors: D'Anastasio, Elisabetta* 
Amoruso, Antonella* 
Crescentini, Luca* 
De Martini, Paolo Marco* 
Title: Clues of Post-seismic Relaxation for the 1915 Fucino Earthquake (Central Italy) from Modeling of Leveling Data
Issue Date: Dec-2004
DOI: 10.1029/2005GL024139
Keywords: postseismic
1915 Fucino earthquake
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.03. Geodesy::04.03.01. Crustal deformations 
04. Solid Earth::04.06. Seismology::04.06.01. Earthquake faults: properties and evolution 
04. Solid Earth::04.06. Seismology::04.06.05. Historical seismology 
04. Solid Earth::04.06. Seismology::04.06.06. Surveys, measurements, and monitoring 
Abstract: The 1915 Fucino earthquake (Ms=6.9) was one of the largest and most destructive events in Italy during the last century. The epicentral area is centered in the Abruzzi region (Central Italy), where a long historical record of large earthquakes is available. Seismotectonic studies on this region, based on instrumental seismicity (focal mechanism solutions of major events and stress analysis of background seismicity), borehole break-out studies and several geological and paleoseismological investigations, suggest NE-SW oriented active extension. The 1915 earthquake fault produced detectable surface ruptures for about 20 km along NW-SE striking SW-dipping structures. Coseismic geodetic data recorded in the epicentral area have been inverted in the past (Amoruso et al. 1998 and references therein), indicating a source fault dipping at moderate angle toward SW and a normal focal mechanism, with a non-negligible left-lateral component. Three high precision leveling lines located in a wide sector north and east of the Fucino plain were measured in 1950 and 1997-2000 by the IGM (Istituto Geografico Militare). Two consecutive lines run in a NW-SE direction along the chain, and form a "T-shape" net together with a third line SW-NE striking, towards the Adriatic sea. The total length is about 360 km with a mean benchmark density higher than 0.5 bm/km. The relative elevation changes recorded during this time interval show maximum values between 7 and 12 cm with a signal wavelength of 40-70 km. The observed elevation changes stand significantly above the calculated total error of 1.13 mm sqrt(L) km. A sharp gradient has been observed east of the earthquake epicenter, where we observe peculiar elevation changes along a 40 km long section of the leveling line. The observed elevation changes in Fucino earthquake area seem to comprise both regional tectonic deformation and post-seismic relaxation. The former and the latter effects are expected to dominate along sections of the leveling lines which are respectively about perpendicular and parallel to the Apennines. Since we compare measurements performed in 1950 and 1997-2000, relaxation effects refer to a late stage of the process. We have used Pollitz (1997) code for computing gravitational-viscoelastic postseismic relaxation on a layered spherical Earth. Different Earth models, characterized by different thicknesses and viscosities of crustal layers and of the upper mantle, have been considered. Even if S/N ratio of expected post-seismic effects is not high, comparison between predictions and observations allows to constrain regional crustal structure. Best-fit seismic moment is in good agreement with Amoruso et al. (1998) and residuals are fully consistent with expected regional tectonic deformation in central Apennines.
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