Skip to main content

High-frequency maximum observable shaking map of Italy from fault sources


We present a strategy for obtaining fault-based maximum observable shaking (MOS) maps, which represent an innovative concept for assessing deterministic seismic ground motion at a regional scale. Our approach uses the fault sources supplied for Italy by the Database of Individual Seismogenic Sources, and particularly by its composite seismogenic sources (CSS), a spatially continuous simplified 3-D representation of a fault system. For each CSS, we consider the associated Typical Fault, i.e., the portion of the corresponding CSS that can generate the maximum credible earthquake. We then compute the high-frequency (1–50 Hz) ground shaking for a rupture model derived from its associated maximum credible earthquake. As the Typical Fault floats within its CSS to occupy all possible positions of the rupture, the high-frequency shaking is updated in the area surrounding the fault, and the maximum from that scenario is extracted and displayed on a map. The final high-frequency MOS map of Italy is then obtained by merging 8,859 individual scenario-simulations, from which the ground shaking parameters have been extracted. To explore the internal consistency of our calculations and validate the results of the procedure we compare our results (1) with predictions based on the Next Generation Attenuation ground-motion equations for an earthquake of Mw 7.1, (2) with the predictions of the official Italian seismic hazard map, and (3) with macroseismic intensities included in the DBMI04 Italian database. We then examine the uncertainties and analyse the variability of ground motion for different fault geometries and slip distributions.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  • Abrahamson NA, Silva WJ (2008) Summary of the Abrahamson & Silva NGA ground-motion relations. Earthq Spect 24: 67–97

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Albarello D, Bosi V, Bramerini F, Lucantoni A, Naso G, Peruzza L, Rebez A, Sabetta F, Slejko D (2000) Carte di pericolosità à sismica del territorio nazionale. Quad Geof 12: 162

    Google Scholar 

  • Atkinson GM, Assatourians K, Boore DM, Campbell K, Motazedian D (2009) A guide to differences between stochastic point-source and stochastic finite-fault simulations. Bull Seismol Soc Am 99: 3192–3201

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Barani S, Spallarossa D, Bazzurro P (2009) Disaggregation of probabilistic ground-motion hazard in Italy. Bull Seismol Soc Am 99: 2638–2661. doi:10.1785/0120080348

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Basili R, Kastelic V, Valensise G, DISS Working Group 2009 (2009) DISS3 tutorial series: Guidelines for compiling records of the Database of Individual Seismogenic Sources, version 3. Rapp Tecn INGV 108:20 (

  • Basili R, Valensise G, Vannoli P, Burrato P, Fracassi U, Mariano S, Tiberti MM, Boschi E (2008) The database of individual seismogenic sources (DISS), version 3: summarizing 20 years of research on Italy’s earthquake geology. Tectonoph 453:20–43 doi:10.1016/j.tecto.2007.04.014 (database open for consultation at

    Google Scholar 

  • Basili R, Garcia Moreno D, Kastelic V, Nemser E, Petricca P, Sboras S, Valensise G (2010) Developing seismogenic source models based on geologic fault data in the Euro-Mediterranean area: SHARE mission accomplished? In: Proceedings of the 32nd general assembly of european seismological commission, Montpellier, 6–10 September 2010

  • Boore DM (1983) Stochastic simulation of high-frequency ground motions based on seismological models of the radiated spectra. Bull Seismol Soc Am 73: 1865–1894

    Google Scholar 

  • Boore DM (2003) Simulation of ground motion using the stochastic method. Pure Appl Geophys 160: 635–676

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Boore DM (2009) Comparing stochastic point- and finite-source ground-motion simulations: SMSIM and EXSIM. Bull Seismol Soc Am 99:3202–3216. doi:10.1785/0120090056 (software available for download at websites: and (

  • Boore DM (2010) Ground-motion-prediction equations (GMPEs) from a global dataset: the PEER NGA equations. In: Proceedings of the 2nd Euro-Mediterranean meeting on accelerometric data exchange and archiving, Ankara, Turkey, November, 2009

  • Boore DM, Atkinson GM (2008) Ground-motion-prediction equations for the average horizontal component of PGA, PGV, and 5%-damped PSA at spectral periods between 0.01s and 10 s. Earthq Spect 24: 99–138

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Building Seismic Safety Council (BSSC) (2001) NEHRP recommended provisions for seismic regulations for new buildings and other structures, 2000 Edition, Part 1: Provisions, prepared by the Building Seismic Safety Council for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. (Report FEMA 368), Washington, DC

  • Campbell KW, Bozorgnia Y (2008) NGA ground motion model for the geometric mean horizontal component of PGA, PGV, PGD and 5%-damped linear elastic response spectra for periods ranging from 0.01 to 10 s. Earthq Spect 24: 139–171

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Castro R, Pacor F, Franceschina G, Bindi D, Zonno G, Luzi L (2008) Stochastic strong-motion simulation of the MW 6 Umbria–Marche earthquake of September 1997: comparison of different approaches. Bull Seismol Soc Am 98: 662–670. doi:10.1785/0120070092

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chiou BS-J, Youngs RR (2008) An NGA model for the average horizontal component of peak ground motion and response spectra. Earthq Spect 24: 173–215

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cinti FR, Faenza L, Marzocchi W, Montone P (2004) Probability map of the next M ≥ 5.5 earthquakes in Italy. Geochem Geophys Geosyst 5: Q11003. doi:10.1029/2004GC000724

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • DISS Working Group (2009) Database of individual seismogenic sources (DISS), Version 3.1.0: A compilation of potential sources for earthquakes larger than M 5.5 in Italy and surrounding areas., © INGV 2009—Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia

  • EC8 (2003) Eurocode8: Design of structures for earthquake resistance, part1: general rules, seismic actions and rules for buildings. December 2003, CEN Central Secretariat, Brussels, ENV 1998-1-1

  • Faccioli E, Villani M (2009) Seismic hazard mapping for Italy in terms of broadband displacement. Earthq Spec 25: 515–539

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Faenza L, Michelini A (2010) Regression analysis of MCS intensity and ground motion parameters in Italy and its application in ShakeMap. Geoph J Int 180: 1138–1152. doi:10.1111/j.1365-246X.2009.04467.x

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Graves R, Pitarka A (2010) Broadband ground motion simulation using a hybrid approach. Bull Seismol Soc Am 100(5A): 2095–2123

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gruppo di Lavoro MPS (2004) Redazione della mappa di pericolosità à sismica prevista dall’Ordinanza PCM 3274 del 20 marzo 2003. Final report for Dipartimento della Protezione Civile, INGV, Milano-Roma, April 2004, p 65 + 5 appendixes (available at:

  • Hartzell S, Guatteri M, Mai PM, Liu P, Frisk M (2005) Calculation of broadband time histories of ground motion, Part II: Kinematic and dynamic modeling using theoretical Green’s functions and comparison with the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Bull Seismol Soc Am 95: 614–645

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Imperatori W, Mai PM (2012) Sensitivity of broad-band ground-motion simulations to earthquake source and Earth structure variations: an application to the Messina Straits (Italy). Geophys J Int 188(3): 1103–1111. doi:10.1111/j.1365-246X.2011.05296.x

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kaklamanos J, Baise, LG, Boore DM (2011) Estimating unknown input parameters when implementing the NGA ground-motion prediction equations in engineering practice. Earthq Spect 101:160–175.

  • Kaklamanos J, Boore DM, Thompson EM, Campbell KW (2010) Implementation of the next generation attenuation (NGA) ground-motion prediction equations in Fortran and R. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2010-1296, p 43. (software availabe at

  • Kanamori H, Brodsky E (2004) The physics of earthquakes. Rep Prog Phys 67: 1429–1496

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kramer SL (1996) Geotechical earthquake engineering. Prentice-All, Inc; ISBN 0-13-374943-b

  • Lorito S, Tiberti MM, Basili R, Piatanesi A, Valensise G (2008) Earthquake-generated tsunamis in the Mediterranean Sea: scenarios of potential threats to southern Italy. J Geophys Res 113: B01301. doi:10.1029/2007JB004943

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mai PM, Beroza GC (2002) A spatial random-field model to characterize complexity in earthquake slip. J Geophys Res 107: 2308. doi:10.1029/2001JB000588

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mai PM, Imperatori W, Olsen KB (2010) Hybrid broadband ground-motion simulations: combining long-period deterministic synthetics with high-frequency multiple S-to-S backscattering. Bull Seismol Soc Am 100(5A): 2124–2142

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Meletti C, Montaldo V (2007) Stime di pericolosità à sismica per diverse probabilità à di superamento in 50 anni: valori di ag. Final report of DPC-INGV project S1, Deliverable D2,

  • Meletti C, Galadini F, Valensise G, Stucchi M, Basili R, Barba S, Vannucci G, Boschi E (2008) A seismic source zone model for the seismic hazard assessment of the Italian territory. Tectonoph 450: 85–108. doi:10.1016/j.tecto.2008.01.003

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mena B, Mai PM, Olsen KB, Purvance M, Brune J (2010) Hybrid broadband ground-motion simulation using scattering Green’s functions: Application to large-magnitude events. Bull Seismol Soc Am 100(5A): 2143–2162

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Motazedian D, Atkinson GM (2005) Stochastic finite-fault modeling based on a dynamic corner frequency. Bull Seismol Soc Am 95: 995–1010. doi:10.1785/0120040083

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Petersen MD, Frankel AD, Harmsen SC, Mueller CS, Haller KM, Wheeler RL, Wesson RL, Zeng Y, Boyd OS, Perkins DM, Luco N, Field EH, Wills CJ, Rukstales KS (2008) Documentation for the 2008 update of the United States National Seismic Hazard Maps. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2008-1128, p 61

  • Solomos G, Pinto A, Dimova S (2008) A review of the seismic hazard zonation in national building codes in the context of eurocode 8. JRC- Scientific and Technical Reports—EUR 23563 EN—2008, p 72

  • Stucchi M, Camassi R, Rovida A, Locati M, Ercolani E, Meletti C, Migliavacca P, Bernardini F, Azzaro R (2007) DBMI04, il database delle osservazioni macrosismiche dei terremoti italiani utilizzate per la compilazione del catalogo parametrico CPTI04. Quad Geof 49: p 38 (available for consultation at

  • Wald DJ, Worden B, Quitoriano V, Pankow K (2006) ShakeMap manual: Technical Manual, User’s Guide, and Software Guide.

  • Wells DL, Coppersmith KJ (1994) New empirical relationships among magnitude, rupture length, rupture width, rupture area, and surface displacement. Bull Sesmol Soc Am 84: 974–1002

    Google Scholar 

  • Zonno G, Musacchio G, Basili R, Imperatori W, Mai M (2008) Stochastic and full-wavefield finite-fault ground motion simulations of the M 7.1. Messina 1908 Earthquake (Southern Italy). Paper presented at, AGU Fall Meeting, San Francisco, December 2008

  • Zonno G, Oliveira CS, Ferreira MA, Musacchio G, Meroni F, Mota-de-Sá F, Neves F (2010) Assessing seismic damage through stochastic simulation of ground shaking: the case of the 1998 Faial earthquake (Azores Islands). Surv Geoph 31: 361–381. doi:10.1007/s10712-009-9091-1

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Gaetano Zonno.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Zonno, G., Basili, R., Meroni, F. et al. High-frequency maximum observable shaking map of Italy from fault sources. Bull Earthquake Eng 10, 1075–1107 (2012).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: