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Authors: Sgroi, T.* 
de Nardis, R.* 
Lavecchia, G.* 
Title: Crustal structure and seismotectonics of central Sicily (southern Italy): new constraints from instrumental seismicity
Journal: Geophysical Journal International 
Series/Report no.: 3/189 (2012)
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Issue Date: Jun-2012
DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2012.05392.x
Keywords: Seismicity and tectonics
Continental tectonics: compressional
Dynamics: seismotectonics
Crustal structure
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.06. Seismology::04.06.99. General or miscellaneous 
04. Solid Earth::04.06. Seismology::04.06.01. Earthquake faults: properties and evolution 
04. Solid Earth::04.06. Seismology::04.06.03. Earthquake source and dynamics 
04. Solid Earth::04.07. Tectonophysics::04.07.99. General or miscellaneous 
04. Solid Earth::04.07. Tectonophysics::04.07.02. Geodynamics 
04. Solid Earth::04.07. Tectonophysics::04.07.04. Plate boundaries, motion, and tectonics 
Abstract: In this paper, we propose a new model of the crustal structure and seismotectonics for central Sicily (southern Italy) through the analysis of the depth distribution and kinematics of the instrumental seismicity, occurring during the period from 1983 to 2010, and its comparison with individual geological structures that may be active in the area. The analysed data set consists of 392 earthquakes with local magnitudes ranging from 1.0 to 4.7. We defined a new, detailed 1-D velocity model to relocate the earthquakes that occurred in central Sicily, and we calculated a Moho depth of 37 km and a mean VP/VS ratio of 1.73. The relocated seismic events are clustered mainly in the area north of Caltanissetta (e.g. Mainland Sicily) and in the northeastern sector (Madonie Mountains) of the study area; only minor and greatly dispersed seismicity is located in the western sector, near Belice, and along the southern coast, between Gela and Sciacca. The relocated hypocentral distribution depicts a bimodal pattern: 50 per cent of the events occur within the upper crust at depths less than ~16 km, 40 per cent of the events occur within the middle and depth crust, at depths between 16 and 32 km, and the remaining 10 per cent occur at subcrustal depths. The energy release pattern shows a similar depth distribution. On the basis of the kinematic analysis of 38 newly computed focal plane solutions, two major geographically distinct seismotectonic domains are distinguished: the Madonie Mountain domain, with prevalent extensional and extensional-oblique kinematics associated with upper crust Late Pliocene–Quaternary faulting, and the Mainland Sicily domain, with prevalent compressional and compressional-oblique kinematics associated with thrust faulting, at mid to deep crust depth, along the north-dipping Sicilian Basal Thrust (SBT). The stress inversion of the Mainland Sicily focal solutions integrated with neighbouring mechanisms available in the literature highlights a regional homogeneous compressional tensor, with a subhorizontal NNW–SSE-striking σ1 axis. In addition, on the basis of geodetic data, the Mainland Sicily domain may be attributed to the SSE-ward thrusting of the Mainland Sicily block along the SBT plane. Seismogenic shearing along the SBT at mid-crustal depths was responsible for the unexpected Belice 1968 earthquake (Mw 6.1), with evident implications in terms of hazard assessment.
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