Abstract

On 30 October 1930, an Mw 5.8 earthquake hit the northern Marche coastal area (central Italy), causing significant damage (I0 VIII–IX degree Mercalli–Cancani–Sieberg) along a 40 km stretch of the Adriatic coast between Pesaro and Ancona, centered on the town of Senigallia. This area is characterized by relatively infrequent and moderate‐sized earthquakes and by elusive active faults. In spite of the presence of well‐known northwest–southeast‐trending, northeast‐verging fault‐propagation folds forming the outer thrusts of the Apennines, the current level of activity, and the kinematics of these coastal structures are still controversial.

We present a multidisciplinary analysis of the source of the 30 October 1930 Senigallia earthquake, combining instrumental and macroseismic data and elaborations with available evidence from geological and tectonic investigations. We determine the main seismic parameters of the source, including the earthquake location, its magnitude, and, for the first time, its focal mechanism, providing the first instrumental evidence for thrust faulting along the northern Marche coastal belt.

Our findings provide conclusive evidence for the current activity of the northern Marche coastal thrusts. As such they have significant implications for the seismic hazard of the area, a densely populated region that hosts historical heritage, tourism facilities, industrial districts, and key transportation infrastructures.

Online Material: Description of method used for moment tensor computation, tables of focal mechanisms and recording stations, and figures of seismic flux and uncertainty maps for macroseismic epicenters.

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