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Solid Earth An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 15 Jan 2019

Research article | 15 Jan 2019

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Solid Earth (SE).

ER3D: a structural and geophysical 3D model of central Emilia-Romagna (Northern Italy) for numerical simulation of earthquake ground motion

Peter Klin1, Giovanna Laurenzano1, M. Adelaide Romano1, Enrico Priolo1, and Luca Martelli2 Peter Klin et al.
  • 1Centro Ricerche Sismologiche (CRS), Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale (OGS), Sgonico (TS), 34010, Italy
  • 2Servizio Geologico Sismico e dei Suoli, Regione Emilia-Romagna, Bologna, 40127, Italy

Abstract. During the 2012 seismic sequence of Emilia region (Northern Italy), the earthquake ground motion in the epicentral area featured longer duration and higher velocity than those estimated by empirical-based prediction equations typically adopted in Italy. In order to explain these anomalies, we (1) build up a structural and geophysical 3D digital model of the crustal sector involved in the sequence, (2) reproduce the earthquake ground motion at some seismological stations through physics-based numerical simulations and (3) compare the observed recordings with the simulated ones. In this way we investigate how the earthquake ground motion in the epicentral area is influenced by local stratigraphy and geological structure buried under the Po Plain alluvium. Our study area covers approximately 5000 km2 and extends from the Po river right bank to the Northern Apennines morphological margin in N-S direction, and between the two chief towns of Reggio Emilia and Ferrara in W-E direction, involving a crustal volume with 20 km of thickness. We set up the 3D model by using already published geological and geophysical data, with a detail corresponding to a map at scale 1:250 000. The model depicts the stratigraphic and tectonic relationships of the main geological formations, the known faults and the spatial pattern of the seismic properties. Being a digital vector structure, the 3D model can be easily modified or refined locally for future improvements or applications. We exploited high performance computing to perform numerical simulations of the seismic wave propagation in the frequency range up to 2 Hz. In order to get rid of the finite source effects and validate the model response, we choose to reproduce the ground motion related to two moderate-size aftershocks of the 2012 Emilia sequence that were recorded by a large number of stations. The obtained solutions compare very well to the recordings available at about 30 stations, in terms of peak ground velocity and signal duration. Snapshots of the simulated wavefield allow us to explain the exceptional length of the observed ground motion as due to surface waves overtones that are excited in the alluvial basin by the buried ridge of the Mirandola anticline. Physics-based simulations using realistic 3D geo-models show eventually to be effective for assessing the local seismic response and the seismic hazard in geologically complex areas.

Peter Klin et al.
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Peter Klin et al.
Peter Klin et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Using geological and geophysical data we set-up a 3D digital description of the underground structure in the central part of the Po alluvial plain. By means of computer simulated propagation of seismic waves we were able to identify the structural features that caused the unexpected elongation and amplification of the earthquake ground motion that was observed in the area during the 2012 seismic crisis. The study permits a deeper understanding of the seismic hazard in alluvial basins.
Using geological and geophysical data we set-up a 3D digital description of the underground...