Publication Results

Code: 23/2015
Title: Anatomy of strong ground motion: near-source records and 3D physics-based numerical simulations of the Mw 6.0 May 29 2012 Po Plain earthquake, Italy
Date: Friday 8th May 2015
Author(s) : Paolucci, R.; Mazzieri, I.; Smerzini, C.
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Abstract: Stimulated by the recent advances in computational tools for the simulation of seismic wave propagation problems in realistic geologic environments, this paper presents a 3D physics-based numerical study on the prediction of earthquake ground motion in the Po Plain, with reference to the Mw 6.0 May 29 2012 earthquake. To respond to the validation objectives aimed at reproducing with a reasonable accuracy some of the most peculiar features of the near-source strong motion records and of the damage distribution, this study required a sequence of investigations, starting from the analysis of a nearly unprecedented set of near-source records, to the calibration of an improved kinematic seismic source model, up to the development of a 3D numerical model of the portion of the Po Plain interested by the earthquake, including the irregular buried morphology, with sediment thickness varying from few tens of m to some km. The spatial resolution of the numerical model is suitable to propagate up to about 1.5 Hz. Numerical simulations were performed using the open-source high-performance code SPEED, based on the Discontinuous Galerkin Spectral Elements (DGSE) method. The 3D numerical model coupled with the updated slip distribution along the rupturing fault proved successful to reproduce with reasonable accuracy, measured through quantitative goodness-of-fit criteria, the most relevant features of the observed ground motion both at the near- and far-field scales. These include: (i) the large fault normal velocity peaks at the near-source stations driven by up-dip directivity effects; (ii) the small-scale variability at short distance from the source, resulting in the out-of-phase motion at stations separated by only 3 km distance; (iii) the propagation of prominent trains of surface waves, especially in the Northern direction, induced by the irregular buried morphology in the near-source area; (iv) the map of earthquake-induced ground uplift with maximum values of about 10 cm, in substantial agreement with satellite measurements; and (v) the two-lobed pattern of the peak ground velocity map, well correlated with the distribution of macroseismic intensity.

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Geophysical Journal International