Articles | Volume 1, issue 3
30 Sep 2001
30 Sep 2001

Hydrological anomalies connected to earthquakes in southern Apennines (Italy)

E. Esposito, R. Pece, S. Porfido, and G. Tranfaglia

Abstract. The study of hydrological variations in the watersheds of seismic areas can be useful in order to acquire a new knowledge of the mechanisms by which earthquakes can produce hydrological anomalies. Italy has the availability of many long historical series both of hydrological parameters and of seismological data, and is an ideal laboratory to verify the validity of theoretical models proposed by various authors. In this work we analyse the hydrological anomalies associated with some of the big earthquakes that occurred in the last century in the southern Apennines: 1930, 1980 and 1984. For these earthquakes we analysed hydrometric and pluviometric data looking for significant anomalies in springs, water wells and mountain streams. The influence of rainfalls on the normal flows of rivers, springs and wells has been ascertained. Also, the earthquake of 1805, for which a lot of hydrological perturbations have been reported, is considered in order to point out effects imputable to this earthquake that can be similar to the effects of the other big earthquakes. The considered seismic events exhibit different modes of energy release, different focal mechanisms and different propagation of effects on the invested areas. Furthermore, even if their epicentres were not localised in contiguous seismogenetic areas, it seems that the hydrological effects imputable to them took place in the same areas. Such phenomena have been compared with macroseismic fields and transformed in parameters, in order to derive empirical relationships between the dimensions of the event and the characteristics of the hydrological variations. The results of this work point to a close dependence among hydrological anomalies, regional structures and fault mechanisms, and indicate that many clear anomalies have been forerunners of earthquakes. In 1993, the Naples Bureau of the Hydrographic National Service started the continuous monitoring of hydrologic parameters by a network of automatic stations and transmission in real time; presently 7 acquifers are under control in which also pH, T , salinity, electrical conductivity, dissolved oxygen are measured. We envisage to increase the number of monitoring sites and controlled parameters.