EGU24-17556, updated on 11 Mar 2024
EGU General Assembly 2024
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

The active frontal sector of the offshore Northern Apennine thrust belt: insights from an interdisciplinary approach following the 2022 Mw 5.5 Costa Marchigiana Pesarese earthquake (Italy)

Lorenzo Petracchini1, Andrea Billi1, Eugenio Carminati2, Claudio Chiarabba3, Alessia Conti1, Roberto Devoti3, Mimmo Palano3, Giuseppe Pezzo3, Laura Scognamiglio3, Stefano Tavani4,1, and Elisa Tinti2,3
Lorenzo Petracchini et al.
  • 1Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, IGAG, Rome, Italy (
  • 2Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, Sapienza Università di Roma, Rome, Italy,
  • 3Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Rome, Italy
  • 4DISTAR, Università degli Studi di Napoli “Federico II,” Naples, Italy

Identifying seismogenic faults in offshore regions presents significant challenges, particularly in achieving their precise geometry and kinematics. Geological data derived from deep-sea exploration and geophysical surveys are commonly used to characterize offshore active faults together with earthquake hypocentral locations. However, limitations may arise in the quantity and quality of geophysical available data, inhibiting the realization of accurate 3D models. Furthermore, the precise relocation of seismic events is demanding, especially in the depth domain, due to the limited azimuthal coverage and the minimum station-event distance that is well beyond the mean depth of the events. In this context, an interdisciplinary approach becomes imperative to mitigate over-interpretation and over-simplification in defining the seismogenic sources and establishing an all-encompassing rupture model.

By means of an interdisciplinary (geological, seismological, and geodetic) approach, we investigate the outermost Northern Apennines fold-and-thrust belt front in the Adriatic Sea (Italy) involved in the Costa Marchigiana Pesarese seismic sequence started with the 9 November 2022 Mw 5.5 mainshock. Given the proximity of the mainshock and the subsequent seismic sequence to the urbanized coastline, where several cities are situated, characterizing the activated faults and the related estimation of ground displacement becomes crucial for seismic risk assessment and the tsunamigenic potential.

We analysed the geological setting of the area by means of an accurate interpretation of numerous seismic reflection profiles and well data acquired over the past decades, which complemented the publicly available seismic data. The interpretation of this dataset, provided by oil companies, led to an accurate definition of the thrust systems highlighting both the geometry of the activated sector of the thrust front and its relation to potentially active adjacent faults. Moreover, the results show the strong influence of past paleogeography and paleomorphology on the evolution and geometry of this sector of the fold-and-thrust belt, including the buttressing effect of carbonate platforms and inherited highs.

The resulting 3D model was integrated with seismological data and geodetic observations allowing us to well highlight the activated portion of the fault plane: strong motion data and continuous GNSS stations hosted by onshore (storage centers) and offshore (seabed-anchored hydrocarbon platforms) infrastructures were jointly inverted to retrieve the Mw 5.5 coseismic rupture history.

How to cite: Petracchini, L., Billi, A., Carminati, E., Chiarabba, C., Conti, A., Devoti, R., Palano, M., Pezzo, G., Scognamiglio, L., Tavani, S., and Tinti, E.: The active frontal sector of the offshore Northern Apennine thrust belt: insights from an interdisciplinary approach following the 2022 Mw 5.5 Costa Marchigiana Pesarese earthquake (Italy), EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-17556,, 2024.