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Historical faulting as the possible cause of earthquake damages in the ancient Roman port city of Ostia

  • Fabrizio MarraEmail author
  • Giuliano Milana
  • Laura Pecchioli
  • Pamela Roselli
  • Giovanni Cangi
  • Daniela Famiani
  • Alessia Mercuri
  • Giorgia Carlucci
Original Article

Abstract

This paper presents an original multidisciplinary (geological-structural-geomorphological and seismological) study aimed at investigating the origin of diffused seismic damages affecting several ancient buildings in the Roman port city of Ostia. We also evaluate the possibility to relate these damages to a previously hypothesized ENE-WSW trending fault, bordering the morphological height upon which the Ostia town was founded. Aimed at this scope, we performed seismic noise measures (by using 14 seismic stations) that show no significantly different response and lack of significant ground motion differential amplifications. The coexistence of (i) no local geological heterogeneities and (ii) low amplification of spectral ratios in the recorded seismic signals seems to exclude that the observed seismic damage may be the consequence of significant site effects. When also the large distance from the strongest Apennine’s seismogenic source areas is considered, the possibility that the observed damage may be the consequence of local events should be considered. We discuss the potentiality of the ENE-WSW trending fault as the source of the observed seismic damages, highlighting the supporting evidence as well as the uncertainties of such interpretation.

Keywords

Geoarchaeology Geomorphology Historical earthquakes Site effects Ostia 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank Mariarosaria Barbera, Director of Parco Archeologico di Ostia Antica, Paola Germoni, and Renato Sebastiani for the kind collaboration, and Gerda Henkel for the support, without which the development of this research would have not been possible.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e VulcanologiaRomeItaly
  2. 2.Department Building Archaeology and Built Heritage ConservationTechnical University of BerlinBerlinGermany
  3. 3.Winckelmann-Institut/Klassische Archäologie, Ostia Forum ProjectHumboldt UniversityBerlinGermany
  4. 4.Research Associated ITABC-CNRRomeItaly

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