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Authors: EMERGEO, Working Group*
Montone, P.* 
Alessio, G.* 
Alfonsi, L.* 
Brunori, C. A.* 
Burrato, P. F.* 
Casula, G.* 
Cinti, F. R.* 
Civico, R.* 
Colini, L.* 
Cucci, L.* 
De Martini, P. M.* 
Falcucci, E.* 
Galadini, F.* 
Gaudiosi, G.* 
Gori, S.* 
Mariucci, M. T.* 
Moro, M.* 
Nappi, R.* 
Nardi, A.* 
Nave, R.* 
Pantosti, D.* 
Patera, A.* 
Pesci, A.* 
Pignone, M.* 
Pinzi, S.* 
Pucci, S.* 
Vannoli, P.* 
Venuti, A.* 
Villani, F.* 
Title: The 2012 Emilia earthquake in northern Italy: coseismic geological effects within a compressive tectonic framework.
Issue Date: 3-Dec-2012
Keywords: Coseismic geologic effects
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.04. Geology::04.04.01. Earthquake geology and paleoseismology 
Abstract: On May 20 2012 a Ml 5.9 seismic event hit the Emilia Po Plain area (northern Italy) triggering an intense earthquake activity along a broad area of the Plain. Nine days later, on May 29 a Ml 5.8 event occurred roughly 10 km to the SW of the first main shock; these events caused 26 victims and several injured and damages. The aftershock area extended for more than 50 km, in WNW-ESE direction, including five major aftershocks with 5.1≤Ml≤5.3 and more than two thousands of minor events. In general, the seismic sequence was confined in the upper 10 km of depth (ISIDe, The focal mechanisms calculated for the main events and also for several M>4.5 aftershocks are almost all consistent with a compression (P-axes) N-S oriented due to thrust fault mechanisms. The two nodal planes, both E-W oriented, show a 40° southward and 60-70° northward dipping plane (QRCMT, Quick Regional Moment Tensors,, connected with the compressional regime of the area. From a tectonic point of view, the active Apennine thrust fronts, buried under the Po Plain Plio-Quaternary sediments, locally consist of three N-verging arcs. The most external structures, the active Ferrara and Mirandola thrusts and folds are responsible for the Emilia Romagna 2012 earthquake sequence. Just after the 20th May seismic event, the EMERGEO Working Group was active in surveying the epicentral area searching for coseismic geological effects. The survey lasted one month, involving about thirty researchers and technicians of the INGV in field and aerial investigations. Simultaneously, a laboratory-working group gathered, organized and interpreted the observations, processing them in the EMERGEO Information System (siE), on a GIS environment. The most common coseismic effects are: 1) liquefactions related to overpressure of aquifers hosted in buried and confined sand layers, occurring both as single cones or through several aligned vents forming coalescent sand blows; 2) extensional fractures with small vertical throws, apparently organized in an en-echelon pattern, observed mainly in the eastern sector and in the central area; 3) liquefactions directly associable to fractures where huge amounts of liquefied sand and fine sand was ejected from fractures tens of meters long. The dip of the fault plane, the depth of the main shock and the magnitude indeed did not induce any primary rupture at the surface.
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