Strong-motion observations from the OGS temporary seismic network during the 2012 Emilia sequence in northern Italy


Strong-motion data consisting of peak ground acceleration and velocity and 5 % damped response spectra are presented for 46 earthquakes of the Emilia seismic sequence which occurred in the Po Plain (northern Italy) in 2012. The data were recorded by the OGS temporary network installed close to the town of Ferrara following the main shock of May 20, 2012. Ground-motion peak parameters and spectral responses are compared with the ground-motion prediction equation (GMPE) of Bindi et al. (Bull Earthq Eng 9:1899–1920, 2011) for soft soils and reverse faults. Peak ground accelerations are in general in good agreement with those predicted by GMPE, while predicted peak ground velocities underestimate the observed data, especially for stronger events at more distant stations. The response spectra follow the trend in peak ground velocities, with observed values higher than predicted values at longer periods. This behavior has been interpreted as a site effect due to the deep soft alluvial cover of the Po Plain, which promotes ground motion characterized by a large low-frequency spectral content that is not yet well modeled by the Italian GMPE. A peculiar behavior was shown by the event occurring on June 6, 04:08:33 UTC, \(\hbox {M}=4.5\), located at the eastern edge of the Po Plain, which produced peak ground accelerations exceeding three times the values estimated by attenuation laws. Such a great discrepancy could be related to post-critically reflected S-waves and multiples from the Moho (SmSM).

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This research has been supported by the Dipartimento della Protezione Civile: Project S2, ProCiv-INGV (2012–2013). We thank Angela Saraò and Pier Luigi Bragato, who gave us much support and many suggestions and two anonymous reviewers to improve the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Carla Barnaba.

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Barnaba, C., Laurenzano, G., Moratto, L. et al. Strong-motion observations from the OGS temporary seismic network during the 2012 Emilia sequence in northern Italy. Bull Earthquake Eng 12, 2165–2178 (2014).

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  • Strong-motion data
  • Emilia 2012 earthquake
  • Moho