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Authors: Burrato, P.* 
Ciucci, F.* 
Valensise, G.* 
Title: An inventory of river anomalies in the Po Plain, Northern Italy: evidence for active blind thrust faulting
Issue Date: 2003
Series/Report no.: 5/46 (2003)
Keywords: tectonic geomorphology
drainage anomaly
blind thrust
Po Plain
1802 Oglio Valley earthquake
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.04. Geology::04.04.01. Earthquake geology and paleoseismology 
04. Solid Earth::04.06. Seismology::04.06.03. Earthquake source and dynamics 
Abstract: The Po Plain is a low-relief area characterised by active shortening accommodated by blind thrust faulting. In this almost flat region depositional rates are similar to tectonic rates and deformation is seldom expressed by noticeable surface anticlines. We adopted a geomorphological approach based on the detailed analysis of the drainage network to identify the location of active thrust faults. A total of 36 anomalies represented by sudden river diversions and shifts in channel pattern were accurately mapped. After comparison with the location of subsurface buried anticlines and of historical seismicity, these anomalies could be related to a tectonic origin and included in a database. Their distribution highlights the activity of the buried outer thrust fronts of both the Southern Alps and the Northern Apennines. Among all the anomalies, we identified one related to the seismogenic source responsible for the 12 May 1802 earthquake (Me 5.7), which struck the Oglio River Valley near Soncino (Cremona). We propose that this earthquake was generated by an east-west trending, north-dipping, blind thrust fault that roots into the Alpine system. If this inference is correct, other faults along the Southern Alpine margin are potentially seismogenic.
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