Surface coseismic reverse faulting is certainly confirmed by new field evidences in North-Eastern Italy!

In the framework of the italian PRIN2020 Project “Fault segmentation and seismotectonics of active thrust systems: the Northern Apennines and Southern Alps laboratories for new Seismic Hazard Assessments in northern Italy” (NASA4SHA), the paleoseismology research group coordinated by Maria Eliana Poli (University of Udine), including geologists and paleoseismologists from the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (Emanuela Falcucci, Stefano Gori), University of Udine (Giovanni Paiero, Andrea Marchesini) and University of Ferrara (Giulia Patricelli, Riccardo Caputo), dug a trench across the eastern Southalpine front, investigating the Budoia-Aviano active thrust front.

Thanks to multiscale preliminary investigation, performed with geophysicists of the University of Ferrara (Enzo Rizzo), the paleoseismological study brought to light extraordinary recordings of past coseismic deformation associated to linear morphogenic earthquakes, in an area that since a few years ago was considered affected by minor seismicity. A set of reverse faults has been indeed exposed by the trench.

Now, other trenches will be made parallel to the first one; the challenge is to possibly associate this new paleoseismological evidence of coseismic surface displacement to historical seismic events of the region, thus contributing to more reliable estimates of the seismogenic and capability potential of the active faults of NE-Italy. In line with this, we are evaluating the possibility to make the site accessible for scientific and public awareness purposes.

Eliana Poli and the working group