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Seismic hazard in Central Italy and the 2016 Amatrice earthquake

Meletti C., F. Visini, V. D’Amico, A. Rovida (2016)
Annals of Geophysics, 59, Fast Track 5, doi: 10.4401/AG-7248


The Amatrice earthquake of August 24th, 2016 (Mw 6.0) struck an area that in the national reference seismic hazard model (MPS04) is characterized by expected horizontal peak ground acceleration (PGA) with 10% probability of exceedance in 50 years higher than 0.25 g. After the occurrence of moderate-to-large magnitude earthquakes with a strong impact on the population, such as the L’Aquila 2009 and Emilia 2012 ones (Mw 6.1 and 5.9, respectively), possible underestimations of the seismic hazard by MPS04 were investigated, in order to analyze and evaluate the possible need for its update. One of the most common misunderstanding is to compare recorded PGA only with PGA with 10% probability of exceedance in 50 years. Moreover, by definition, probabilistic models cannot be validated (or rejected) on the basis of a single event. However, comparisons of forecasted shakings with observed data are useful for understating the consistency of the model. It is then worth highlighting the importance of these comparisons. In fact, MPS04 is the basis for the current Italian building code to provide the effective design procedures and, thus, any modification to the seismic hazard would also affect the building code. In this paper, comparisons between recorded ground motion during the Amatrice earthquake and seismic hazard estimates are performed, showing that the observed accelerations are consistent with the values expected by the MPS04 model.