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Authors: Graziani, L.* 
Bernardini, F.* 
Castellano, C.* 
Del Mese, S.* 
Ercolani, E.* 
Rossi, A.* 
Tertulliani, A.* 
Vecchi, M.* 
Title: The 2012 Emilia earthquake sequence: an attempt of historical reading
Journal: Journal of Seismology 
Series/Report no.: /19 (2015)
Publisher: Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Issue Date: 2015
DOI: 10.1007/s10950-014-9471-y
Keywords: mcs scale
Emilia 2012
historical seismology
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.06. Seismology::04.06.05. Historical seismology 
Abstract: In May-June 2012 the Po Valley (Northern Italy) was struck by an earthquake sequence whose strongest event occurred on 20 May (Mw 5.9). The intensity values (Imax 7-8 EMS98) assessed through macroseismic field surveys seemed inappropriate to describe the whole range of effects observed, especially those to monumental heritage, that suffered very heavy damage and destruction. The observed intensities in fact were significantly lower than those we could have expected after a Mw 5.9 event for Italy. As magnitude-intensity regressions are mainly based on historical earthquakes data, we handle this issue going back in time and debating the following hypotheses: a) the 2012 Emilia earthquake sequence shows lower intensity values than expected because the affected urban context is more heterogeneous and much less vulnerable than in the past; b) some historical earthquakes, especially those that occurred centuries ago and are provided with little information, could show a tendency to be overestimated in intensity, and consequently in magnitude. In order to give consistency to such hypotheses we have introduced, as a test, a dual historical reading of the 2012 Emilia earthquake sequence as if it had occurred in the past: the first reading refers to a period prior to the introduction of concrete in buildings assessing the intensity on traditional masonry buildings only. A further historical reading, assessed by using information on monumental buildings only, was performed and it can be roughly referred to the XVI-XVII centuries. In both cases intensity values tend to grow significantly. The results could have a relevant impact when considered for seismic hazard assessments if confirmed on a large scale.
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