A procedure to estimate the seismic hazard in an urban area: an application to Acireale (Eastern Sicily)

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The new paper:

A procedure to estimate the seismic hazard in an urban area:
an application to Acireale (Eastern Sicily)

has been published by Springer-Verlag in Environmental Earth Science. (2011) 64:1777–1786.
The online version of the article is visible here and you can download the PDF from here.

Abstract:

A “standard procedure” to characterize the seismic hazard of a given area was proposed. It is based on a multidisciplinary approach implying: (1) the knowledge of the seismic history of the area; (2) detailed geological surveys; (3)seismic noise measurements; (4) simulations of earthquake scenarios. The downtown of Acireale, a typical baroque town located on Eastern Sicily, was chosen as the “test area”. A catalog of the local seismogenic faults (able to generate earthquakes in historical times) has been compiled, as well as a seismic catalog for the effects of both local and regional earthquakes. The analysis of both catalogs allowed us to make the following conclusions: (1) the most important seismogenic faults affecting the Acireale municipality do not affect the downtown, while the related local earthquakes attenuate their energy (and intensity) in short (few km) distances; (2) the highest seismic intensity (degree X) experienced in Acireale downtown was caused by the 1693 regional earthquake; (3) over the last 140 years, the downtown has experienced the highest intensity value of VII only once, while six times the intensity was VI. On the whole, this implies a moderate seismic hazard. The estimation of the seismic hazard has been also approached by the experimental method of recording seismic noise. Measurements have been performed at seven different sites, where drills gave detailed information on the shallow subsurface geology to obtain HV (horizontal/vertical) spectral ratios. On the whole, the highest site amplification factor was moderate (about 7). A further investigation based on synthetic seismograms (and spectra) produced by simulating two given earthquake scenarios was also performed. The two scenarios are, respectively, representative of the largest expected earthquake in the area (the 1693 shock) and of a moderate (magnitude ca. 5.5) local earthquake (as the 1818 one). Moderate to strong locally expected accelerations were evidenced.

Authors:

Sebastiano Imposa, Francesco Barone, Domenico Bella, Massimo Cristaldi and Stefano Gresta.