International Journal of Earth Sciences

, Volume 95, Issue 5, pp 855–870 | Cite as

Late Holocene earthquakes in southern Apennine: paleoseismology of the Caggiano fault

  • P. GalliEmail author
  • V. Bosi
  • S. Piscitelli
  • A. Giocoli
  • V. Scionti
Original Paper


Although southern Apennines are characterized by the strongest crustal earthquakes of central-western Mediterranean region, local active tectonics is still poorly known, at least for seismogenic fault-recognition is concerned. Research carried out in the Maddalena Mts. (southeast of Irpinia, the region struck by the M w=6.9, 1980 earthquake) indicates historical ruptures along a 17-km-long, N120° normal fault system (Caggiano fault). The system is characterized by a bedrock fault scarp carved in carbonate rocks, which continues laterally into a retreating and eroded smoothed scarp, affecting the clayey-siliciclastic units, and by smart scarps and discontinuous free-faces in Holocene cemented slope-debris and in modern alluvial fan deposits. The geometry of the structure in depth has been depicted by means of electrical resistivity tomography, while paleoseismic analysis carried out in three trenches revealed surface-faulting events during the past 7 ky BP (14C age), the latest occurred in the past 2 ky BP (14C age) and, probably, during/after slope-debris deposition related to the little ice age (∼1400–1800 a.d.). Preliminary evaluation accounts for minimum slip rates of 0.3–0.4 mm/year, which is the same order of rates estimated for many active faults along the Apennine chain. Associated earthquakes might be in the order of M w=6.6, to be compared to the historical events occurred in the area (e.g., 1561 and 1857 p.p. earthquakes).


Paleoseismology Active tectonics Historical seismicity Seismic hazard Italy 



We are grateful to Prof. M. Rotili for the useful discussion on the archaeoseismic data. We thank those colleagues of Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia who visited the trenches, providing useful advises and criticisms. We thank P. Boncio for his consultancy on the tectonic fabric of the fault zone and M. Mucciarelli for the interpretation on the basin geometry. A. Loperte participated in the ERT acquisition. Field survey was performed during 2002–2004. We are grateful to the criticisms of Dr. Gotze and of an anonymous referee. The view and conclusion contained in this paper are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies, either expressed or implied, of the Italian Government.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Galli
    • 1
    Email author
  • V. Bosi
    • 1
  • S. Piscitelli
    • 2
  • A. Giocoli
    • 2
  • V. Scionti
    • 1
  1. 1.Civil Protection DepartmentUSSNRomeItaly
  2. 2.CNR, Institute of Methodologies for Environmental AnalysisPotenzaItaly

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