31 August 2016

Landslides from the 2016 Central Italy earthquake

Posted by dr-dave

Landslides from the 2016 Central Italy earthquake

The M=6.2 2016 Central Italy Earthquake on 24th August has been devastating for a number of traditional towns in the Central Apennines.  Whilst not particularly powerful, the very shallow depth of this earthquake lead to very intense shaking over a comparatively small area.  In this respect it is not dissimilar to the Christchurch earthquakes, which also caused catastrophic damage in the comparatively limited spatial areas affected by high intensity shaking.

Italy is the most landslide prone country in Europe (by far), and the earthquake struck in an upland area.  Thus, an immediate question asked by the landslide community was the degree to which this earthquake triggered landslides.  Very kindly, Salvatore Martino, Associate Professor in Engineering Geology at the University of Roma “Sapienza”, has sent some images and information for this blog.  He is coordinating a research team from the Research Centre for the Geological Risk (CERI) that is surveying the seismically-induced landslides triggered by the 2016 Central Italy earthquake.  The aim is that the information will be uploaded into the CEDIT database of earthquake-induced ground failures in Italy (see Martino et al. 2014 – reference below – this is an open access publication).

Dr Martino has provided this extremely helpful commentary:

On 24th August 2016 a strong earthquake (M 6.0 – 42.714°N 13.172°E) struck Central Apennines (Italy) at 3.36 local hour starting a seismic sequence which is still acting. The seismic sequence originated hundreds of aftershocks (with a magnitude up to 4.3), distributed along a 25 km wide area NW-SE oriented. The seismic sequence caused the complete destruction of the historical towns of Amatrice, Arquata del Tronto, Accumoli and Pescara del Tronto but also severe damages to other local towns and villages. Since the first hours after the mainshock a work-team of the Research Centre for the Geological Risks – CERI of the University of Rome “Sapienza” is operating in field to survey the ground effects induced by the earthquake. Up to now several tens of disrupted landslides (sensu Keefer, 1984) have been surveyed. These events mainly include rockfalls and rockslides which are distributed in a wide area up about 40 km far from the mainshock epicenter included within the main localities of Ascoli Piceno, Teramo, Norcia and Rieti. Some of these events involved roads but no severe damages were generally produced. In the next few days, the surveyed data will be used to update the database (Italian acronym CEDIT) of earthquake-induced ground failures in Italy (Martino et al., 2014), managed by the CERI and they will be available at the web site

Dr Martino has also provided these images:

2016 Central Italy earthquake

The seismic sequence for the 2016 Central Italy earthquake – via INGVterremoti

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2016 Central Italy earthquake

Image courtesy of Salvatore Martino

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2016 Central Italy earthquake

Image courtesy of Salvatore Martino

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2016 Central Italy earthquake

Image courtesy of Salvatore Martino

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2016 Central Italy earthquake

Image courtesy of Salvatore Martino

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2016 Central Italy earthquake

Image courtesy of Salvatore Martino

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2016 Central Italy earthquake

Image courtesy of Salvatore Martino

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Reference

Martino, S., Prestininzi, A., and Romeo, R. W. (2014) Earthquake-induced ground failures in Italy from a reviewed database. Natural Hazards and Earth System Science, 14, 799-814, doi:10.5194/nhess-14-799-2014.