This work aims at providing an updated and augmented view of present-day tectonics and seismogenic sources of the Abruzzi Apennines, focusing on its extensional domain. This paper was spurred by the 6 April 2009, L’Aquila earthquake (Mw 6.3), an event from which geologists learned important lessons-including rather surprising ones. Although the earthquake was not major compared with other catastrophic events that occurred in Italy and elsewhere, this destructive earthquake led to a thorough review of the geometry – and style, in some instances – that characterises earthquake faulting in this region. The poorly expressed field evidence of the 6 April event, especially in light of the damage it caused in the mesoseismal area, stressed the intrinsic limitation of the earthquake geologists’ toolbox.
Abruzzi is the region of a true “seismological paradox”: despite the rather long earthquake history available for the region, the number of potential sources for earthquakes of M ≥ 6.0 proposed in the literature is two to five times larger than the number of events that appear in the full earthquake record. This circumstance is made even more paradoxical by recent palaeoseismological work that proposed recurrence times of only a few centuries for individual seismogenic sources. Do the evident faults mapped by previous workers all correspond to potential seismogenic sources?
We aim at addressing this paradox by drawing an updated seismotectonic model of Abruzzi based on the lessons learned following the 2009 earthquake. The model is based on selected geological, geomorphological, seismological, historical and geodetic data and will ultimately feed an updated version of the DISS database (http://diss.rm.ingv.it/diss/).