ABRUZZO PROJECT - High-resolutiuon analyses for assessing the seismic hazard and risk of the areas affected by the 6 April 2009 earthquake

The occurrence of the 6 April 2009 L’Aquila earthquake stressed the need for widespread prevention of earthquakes disasters in high seismic risk areas like the Abruzzo region, but it also represented an important challenge for the scientific growth of the young yet mature Italian seismological community.
More than a year later, the INGV - National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology intends to analyze critically the post-earthquake scientific intervention in order to improve the results obtained and transform that experience into a working method to be proposed as an approach for mitigating seismic risk in other earthquake-prone areas of Abruzzo.

The project aims at tuning up and finalizing different disciplinary approaches, including studies of seismogenic processes, seismic hazard and scenario assessment, and seismic risk mitigation. These goals will be pursued by exploting extensively all available data and by resorting to innovative monitoring, data analysis and dissemination techniques. The involved Research Units (RUs) will make use of all their best scientific and technological skills spanning from seismotectonics to multidisciplinary geophysics (high resolution seismic techniques, aeromagnetism, aerogravimetry, electric tomography), including seismology (strong motion, weak motion, microtremor data analysis, surface waves techniques), geology, geomorphology and ground motion simulation in complex media (also in 2D and 3D).

The data collection and analysis will be performed at different levels of detail ranging from regional scale to the scale of individual geological and geomorphologic structures. The variable scale of the proposed analyses will allow sites of special interest for the presence of historical heritage or single strategic buildings to be analyzed with the appropriate level of detail. Obtaining results of practical interest for the local authorities will require a close interaction with the Earthquake Engineering community which may guarantee high scientific standards and acces to pertinent information at both the national and local scale. In this framework a fully multidisciplinary approach to the analysis of available data may play a crucial role. As a result of this process the investigated areas will become a scientific laboratory where all modeling techniques aimed at understanding and reproducing the effects of earthquake ground shaking will be easily tested and calibrated.

The results of our effort are expected to supply scientific products which will be immediately applicable for earthquake prevention and risk mitigation. The expected results of the project will make it possible to update the seismic hazard maps to be used in the seismic design of buildings, as stated by the Italian Technical Regulations for Building (Norme Tecniche per le Costruzioni) or in the seismic verification of strategic buildings. The seismic risk evaluation for historical and monumental heritage will represent yet another important application of the project results. A further effort will be devoted to the analysis of the damage pattern caused by the L’Aquila earthquake and for ranking different portions of the regional territory according to their estimated risk level.

We remark that the project will not only cause a major scientific leap in the seismological knowledge of the region and in the understanding of local hazards, but will also lead to the definiton of original methods and strategies for preserving human life and protecting buildings and infrastructures.

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