Abstract

The new Italian National Seismic Network (INSN) is a dense network of broadband stations deployed for monitoring Italian seismicity. The network consists of 250 stations with a typical station spacing of ∼40 km. Earthquake early warning is the rapid detection of an event in progress, assessment of the hazard it poses, and transmission of a warning ahead of any significant ground motion. We explore the potential for using the INSN real-time network for the purpose of earthquake early warning. We run the ElarmS early warning methodology off-line using a data set of more than 200 events with magnitudes between 2.5 and 6.0. A scaling relation for magnitude determination from the dominant period of the first seconds of signal following the P onset is developed from the data set. The standard deviation in the magnitude estimates using this approach is 0.4 magnitude units, and all event magnitude estimates are within ±0.75 magnitude units of the true magnitude. Given the existing distribution of seismic stations it takes an average of 10 sec after event initiation before the P wave has been detected at four stations. If we require a detection at four stations before issuing the first alert, then the blind zone, within which no warning would be available, has a radius of ∼37 km. The ElarmS methodology can provide a warning earlier than this but with a greater uncertainty. An assessment of past damaging earthquakes across Italy shows that applying ElarmS with the existing seismic network could provide warning to population centers in repeats of past events. For example, in a repeat of the 1980 Irpinia earthquake Naples could receive an ∼15-sec warning. The variations in the size of the blind zone and warning times for different regions can be used as a guide to selecting strategic locations for future station deployments.

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