Buried Alive: Imaging the 9 November 2022, Mw 5.5 Earthquake Source on the Offshore Adriatic Blind Thrust Front of the Northern Apennines (Italy)

F. E. Maesano, M. Buttinelli, R. Maffucci, G. Toscani, R. Basili, L. Bonini, P. Burrato, Jakub Fedorik, U. Fracassi, Yuri Panara, G. Tarabusi, M. M. Tiberti, G. Valensise, R. Vallone, P. Vannoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The prompt identification of faults responsible for moderate-to-large earthquakes is fundamental for understanding the likelihood of further, potentially damaging events. This is increasingly challenging when the activated fault is an offshore buried thrust, where neither coseismic surface ruptures nor GPS/InSAR deformation data are available after an earthquake. We show that on 9 November 2022, an Mw 5.5 earthquake offshore Pesaro ruptured a portion of the buried Northern Apennines thrust front (the Cornelia thrust system [CTS]). By post-processing and interpreting the seismic reflection profiles crossing this thrust system, we determined that the activated fault (CTS) is an arcuate 30-km-long, NW-SE striking, SW dipping thrust and that older structures at its footwall possibly influenced its position and geometry. The activation of adjacent segments of the thrust system is a plausible scenario that deserves to be further investigated to understand the full earthquake potential of this offshore seismogenic source.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number11
StatePublished - May 31 2023

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2023-06-06
Acknowledgements: We thank Matteo Basilici and two anonymous reviewers for their valuable suggestions. This work was possible thanks to the INGV's Reflection Seismology Laboratory “SismoLab-3D” (https://sismolab3d.ingv.it/) infrastructure. Project “Pianeta Dinamico,” subtask S2, supported the “SismoLab-3D” for purchasing the CROP data from CNR-ISMAR (http://crop.cnr.it). We acknowledge IHS Markit Ltd. for Kingdom Suite Software's educational license and dGB Earth Sciences for the OpendTect software under the General Public License. Earlier interpretations of the datasets are from the SPOT project funded by the Italian Ministry of Economic Development (MISE, DGS-UNMIG) under the umbrella of the offshore safety network “Clypea” and additional resources by projects PRIN 2017 (2017KT2MKE) (P.I.: Giusy Lavecchia; R.U. at University of Pavia: led by Giovanni Toscani) and FASTMIT (Premiale2014 D.M.291 03/05/2016), both funded by the Italian Ministry for University and Research. This work was also supported by the INGV project “Monitoraggio Geotermia Toscana” (Ob.Fu. 1032.010).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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