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Authors: Italiano, Francesco 
Title: Fluids and Earthquakes: the geochemical approach to gain a better insight into seismogenesis
Issue Date: 20-Apr-2010
Keywords: Fluids
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.04. Geology::04.04.12. Fluid Geochemistry 
Abstract: On April 6th, 2009, a seismic crisis hit the Central Italy killing more than 300 people among the ruins and the polemics caused by an unheeded alarm based on radon data. That episode cannot be forgotten not because the number of victims, lower than in other events, but because at global scale the main question was what it was the role of the scientific research to effectively reduce the seismic hazard. The Earthquake prediction still represents one, among the biggest, unsolved problems for the whole humankind. The possibility of forecasting seismic events has always attracted people living over earthquakeprone areas, and many empirical methods have been proposed in order to predict earthquakes. Summing up the situation of the Earthquake prediction we have to agree that the attempts made all over the world did not provide useful results, thus, statistical approaches to the seismic hazard assessment, continue nowadays to offer the most cost-effective means to reduce earthquake-related losses. However the limit of such an approach is that it cannot provide information on natural processes occurring during the seismogenesis. To gain a better insight of those processes occurring at various crustal levels during the seismogenesis, namely to develop a deterministic approach, many research activities based on the information carried by the fluids have been recently developed, although the scientific community have the feeling to be far from any possibility of predicting an earthquake, if “prediction” means the precise indication of time and site hit by the seismic shock. The results of long-term geochemical monitoring carried out during the last 15 years over the Italian seismic areas of Northern Italy (Friuli/Slovenia border), Central Italy (Central-Northern Apennines of Umbria-Marche-Abruzzo-Latium Regions), and Southern Apennines (Basilicata-Irpinia area, Calabria Region, Messina strait and Peloritani-Nebrodi Mountains) has allowed to model and to interpret the origin, circulation and temporal variations of fluids over seismogenic faults. To share such kind of results with other scientific information (geophysical, geological, archaeological etc) thus to have a cooperative multidisciplinary approach to the wide problem of forecast prediction may provide the most powerful tool to better understand the natural processes. Finally, to couple the statistical methods with the deterministic results will take a step forward to significantly reduce the seismic hazard for any seismic-prone area.
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