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Authors: Carannante, S.* 
Argnani, A.* 
Massa, M.* 
D'Alema, E.* 
Lovati, S.* 
Moretti, M.* 
Cattaneo, M.* 
Augliera, P.* 
Title: The May 20 (M W 6.1) and 29 (M W 6.0), 2012, Emilia (Po Plain, northern Italy) earthquakes: New seismotectonic implications from subsurface geology and high-quality hypocenter location
Issue Date: 30-May-2015
Series/Report no.: /655 (2015)
DOI: 10.1016/j.tecto.2015.05.015
Keywords: velocity model
relocated hypocenters
double-difference locations
Po Plain
May 2012 Emilia earthquakes
reactivated extensional faults
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.06. Seismology::04.06.01. Earthquake faults: properties and evolution 
Abstract: This study presents new geological and seismological data that are used to assess the seismic hazard of a sector of the Po Plain (northern Italy), a large alluvial basin hit by two strong earthquakes on May 20 (Mw 6.1) and May 29 (Mw 6.0), 2012. The proposed interpretation is based on high-quality relocation of 5,369 earthquakes ( 'Emilia sequence‘) and a dense grid of seismic profiles and exploration wells. The analysed seismicity was recorded by 44 seismic stations, and initially used to calibrate new one-dimensional and three- dimensional local Vp and Vs velocity models for the area. Considering these new models, the initial sparse hypocenters were then relocated in absolute mode and adjusted using the double-difference relative location algorithm. These data define a seismicity that is elongated in the W-NW to E-SE directions. The aftershocks of the May 20 mainshock appear to be distributed on a rupture surface that dips ~45° SSW, and the surface projection indicates an area ~10 km wide and 23 km long. The aftershocks of the May 29 mainshock followed a steep rupture surface that is well constrained within the investigated volume, whereby the surface projection of the blind source indicates an area ~6 km wide and 33 km long. Multichannel seismic profiles highlight the presence of relevant lateral variations in the structural style of the Ferrara folds that developed during the Pliocene and Pleistocene. There is also evidence of a Mesozoic extensional fault system in the Ferrara arc, with faults that in places have been seismically reactivated. These geological and seismological observations suggest that the 2012 Emilia earthquakes were related to ruptures along blind fault surfaces that are not part of the Pliocene-Pleistocene structural system, but are instead related to a deeper system that is itself closely related to re-activation of a Mesozoic extensional fault system.
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