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Authors: Cesca, S.* 
Braun, T.* 
Maccaferri, F.* 
Passarelli, L.* 
Rivalta, E.* 
Title: Source modelling of the M5-6 Emilia-Romagna, Italy, earthquakes (May 20-29, 2012)
Issue Date: 28-Mar-2013
Series/Report no.: /193(2013)
DOI: 10.1093/gji/ggt069
Keywords: Earthquake dynamics
Earthquake source observations
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.06. Seismology::04.06.03. Earthquake source and dynamics 
Abstract: On 2012 May 20 and 29, two damaging earthquakes with magnitudes Mw 6.1 and 5.9, respectively, struck the Emilia-Romagna region in the sedimentary Po Plain, Northern Italy, causing 26 fatalities, significant damage to historical buildings and substantial impact to the economy of the region. The earthquake sequence included four more aftershocks with Mw ? 5.0, all at shallow depths (about 7–9 km), with similar WNW–ESE striking reverse mechanism. The timeline of the sequence suggests significant static stress interaction between the largest events. We perform here a detailed source inversion, first adopting a point source approximation and considering pure double couple and full moment tensor source models. We compare different extended source inversion approaches for the two largest events, and find that the rupture occurred in both cases along a subhorizontal plane, dipping towards SSW. Directivity is well detected for the May 20 main shock, indicating that the rupture propagated unilaterally towards SE. Based on the focal mechanism solution, we further estimate the co-seismic static stress change induced by the May 20 event. By using the rate-and-state model and a Poissonian earthquake occurrence, we infer that the second largest event of May 29 was induced with a probability in the range 0.2–0.4. This suggests that the segment of fault was already prone to rupture. Finally, we estimate peak ground accelerations for the two main events as occurred separately or simultaneously. For the scenario involving hypothetical rupture areas of both main events, we estimate Mw = 6.3 and an increase of ground acceleration by 50 per cent. The approach we propose may help to quantify rapidly which regions are invested by a significant increase of the hazard, bearing the potential for large aftershocks or even a second main shock.
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