The Colfiorito Basin is a small intramountain depression in the southern section of the Northern Apennine chain that is filled with Quaternary alluvial deposits. The presence of soft alluvial deposits has significantly influenced the level of local damage that was caused by two major earthquakes (ML 5.6 and 5.8) belonging to the swarm that started in September 1997. To verify the effects of the basin structure on the predominant frequency of seismic motion, ambient noise measurements were carried out in the Colfiorito Basin during two experiments in May and July of 2002. The horizontal-to-vertical spectral ratios (hvsrs) were calculated for data collected at four profiles in the basin. Array techniques were applied to determine the wave types that composed the noise, to estimate their apparent velocity and azimuth of propagation, and to calculate a velocity-dispersion curve from which a velocity-depth structure was derived. The data analysis shows a high amplification in the hvsr at low frequency. This feature is common to most of the sites, including the reference site, and it is interpreted as being due to weather disturbances. The peak frequencies of the spectral ratio calculated at the sites located in the center of the basin coincide with the theoretically estimated resonance frequencies. The array- averaged hvsr calculated for the array located in the middle of the plain has a pronounced peak at 0.9 Hz. This corresponds to the peak of the amplification function calculated on the basis of the velocity model deduced from the dispersion analysis. The hvsr method is instead unsuitable for the prediction of the resonance frequencies of sediments in the sites where strong lateral variations of basement topography are present. We measured apparent velocities in the range of 0.3–0.8 km/sec by applying f-k methods to array recordings. These values are compatible with the predominance of surface waves in the noise, as also confirmed by polarization analysis. Both Rayleigh and Love waves are present in the background seismic noise. The results obtained by applying the spatial autocorrelation method to the vertical component of the ground motion recorded at a 240-m-wide circular array deployed in the middle of the basin revealed the presence of Rayleigh waves, and f-k methods combined with polarization techniques revealed the presence of polarized Love waves. The wave-field analysis indicates two main propagation directions: the first is around N100° E in the frequency band of 1.0–2.0 Hz; this radiation can be interpreted as being generated at the east-southeast step borders of the basin. The second main direction is around N300° E in the frequency band of 2.0–3.0 Hz; its source may be a 180-m-deep depression located at the southwest corner of the basin.

You do not currently have access to this article.