EGU24-14973, updated on 09 Mar 2024
EGU General Assembly 2024
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Deformed archeological remains at Lilybaeum in Western Sicily (southern Italy) as possible ground signatures of coseismically-slipped fault in the area

Barreca Giovanni1,2, Pepe Fabrizio3, Sulli Attilio3, Morreale Gabriele1, Gambino Salvatore1, Gasparo Morticelli Maurizio3, Grassi Sabrina, Monaco Carmelo1,2,4, and Imposa Sebastiano
Barreca Giovanni et al.
  • 1University of Catania, Dept. of Biological, Geological and Environment Sciences, Catania, Italy (
  • 2CRUST - Interuniversity Center for 3D Seismotectonic with Territorial applications, Chieti, Italy
  • 3Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra e del Mare (DiSTeM), University of Palermo
  • 4Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Osservatorio Etneo, Catania, Italy

Archaeoseismic analysis performed in Western Sicily point to deformed archeological remains at Lilybaeum, a Punic coastal city founded in 397 B.C. at the Island’s westernmost edge. Starting from the direct observation of deformed ruins, an interdisciplinary work-strategy, which has included field-structural analysis, drone-shot high-resolution aerial photogrammetry, and geophysical prospecting, was employed to investigate whether the identified deformations may represent the ground effects of a previously unknown large earthquake in the area. Among the unearthed remains, some mosaics and a stone-paved monumental avenue show evidence of tectonic deformation being fractured, folded, and uplifted. Trend of folding and fracturing is consistent with the NNW-SSE oriented tectonic max stress axis to which western Sicily is currently undergoing. Displacement along a fracture deforming the Decumanus Maximus together with the finding of a domino-type directional collapse, enable us to interpret the observed deformation as the ground signature of a coseismic slip. Seismic rupture occurred along a previously unmapped deformation front that well fits in the seismotectonic context of Western Sicily. Measured offset, geophysical prospecting, and age-constraints all point to the possibility that a highly-energetic earthquake nucleated in the area following a coseismic rupture along a NE-SW trending back-verging reverse fault towards the end of the IV century A.D. Since seismic catalogs do not provide evidence of such a large earthquake, the latter might represent a missed event in the historical seismic record. This finding provides constraints to redefine the seismic hazard of Western Sicily, a region where recurrence-time intervals for large earthquakes are still unknown.

How to cite: Giovanni, B., Fabrizio, P., Attilio, S., Gabriele, M., Salvatore, G., Maurizio, G. M., Sabrina, G., Carmelo, M., and Sebastiano, I.: Deformed archeological remains at Lilybaeum in Western Sicily (southern Italy) as possible ground signatures of coseismically-slipped fault in the area, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-14973,, 2024.