04 Jan 2022
04 Jan 2022
Status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

A morpho-tectonic approach to the study of earthquakes in Rome

Fabrizio Marra1, Alberto Frepoli1, Dario Gioia2, Marcello Schiattarella3, Andrea Tertulliani1, Monica Bini4, Gaetano De Luca1, and Marco Luppichini5 Fabrizio Marra et al.
  • 1Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Via di Vigna Murata 605, 00143 Rome, Italy
  • 2Istituto di Scienze del Patrimonio Culturale (ISPC), Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Tito Scalo, I-­85050 Potenza, Italy
  • 3Dipartimento delle Culture Europee e del Mediterraneo (DiCEM), Università degli Studi della Basilicata, I-­75100 Matera, Italy
  • 4Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, Università di Pisa, Italy
  • 5Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, Università di Firenze, Italy

Abstract. Rome has the world’s longest historical record of felt earthquakes, with more than 100 events during the last 2,600 years. However, no destructive earthquake has been reported in the sources and all of the greatest damage suffered in the past has been attributed to far-field events. While this fact suggests that a moderate seismotectonic regime characterizes the Rome area, no study has provided a comprehensive explanation for the lack of strong earthquakes in the region. Through the analysis of the focal mechanism and the morphostructural setting of the epicentral area of a "typical" moderate earthquake (ML = 3.3) that recently occurred in the northern urban area of Rome, we demonstrate that this event reactivated a buried segment of an ancient fault generated under both a different and a stronger tectonic regime than that which is presently active. We also show that the evident structural control over the drainage network in this area reflects an extreme degree of fragmentation of a set of buried faults generated under two competing stress fields throughout the Pleistocene. Small faults and a present-day weaker tectonic regime with respect to that acting during the Pleistocene explain the lack of strong seismicity and imply that a large earthquake could not reasonably occur.

Fabrizio Marra et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on nhess-2021-399', Anonymous Referee #1, 28 Jan 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Fabrizio Marra, 03 Feb 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on nhess-2021-399', Anonymous Referee #1, 03 Feb 2022
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC2', Fabrizio Marra, 08 Apr 2022
  • RC3: 'Comment on nhess-2021-399', Anonymous Referee #2, 29 Mar 2022
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC3', Fabrizio Marra, 30 Mar 2022
  • AC4: 'Comment on nhess-2021-399', Fabrizio Marra, 08 Apr 2022
  • AC5: 'Comment on nhess-2021-399', Fabrizio Marra, 19 Apr 2022
  • AC6: 'Comment on nhess-2021-399', Fabrizio Marra, 24 Apr 2022
  • AC7: 'Comment on nhess-2021-399', Fabrizio Marra, 22 Jun 2022

Fabrizio Marra et al.

Fabrizio Marra et al.


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Short summary
Through the analysis of the morpho-structural setting in which the seismicity of Rome is framed we explain why the City should not expect to suffer damages from a big earthquake.