Seismogenic fault models and active deformation models are fundamental for probabilistic long-term earthquakes forecasting in regions characterized by natural seismic hazard. To improve the ability to define these models in offshore areas, we aim to develop an innovative, geophysical/geological method to (1)identify the spatial geometry of active offshore faults and fault systems; (2)calculate their average long-term slip rates and maximum probable earthquake magnitudes.
The approach consists of innovative combination of geophysical dataset, algorithm, and sampling methodology. Primary data are: (1) high-resolution geophysical data (seismic reflections, multibeam data and potential fields); (2) physical experimental investigation of palaeo sea-level markers; (3) benchmarks recognized in gravity core data.
Objectives of the project: (a) create a GIS-based map of the Infralittoral Prograding Wedges (IPWs) and their associated terrace-shaped upper boundary along selected coastal areas of the southern Tyrrhenian Sea and the Israeli EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) from existing high-resolution seismic data; (b) identify the geological/oceanographic factors that control the depth of the rollover of IPWs by using a physical laboratory model of a downscaled basin, where waves and currents are generated to model the sedimentary evolution; (c) develop a method to measure the magnitude and rate of vertical tectonic movements based on using present-day depth of IPWs formed during the last glacial maximum as markers of tectonic displacement both in the long- and short-term time intervals; (d) define a novel, GIS-based geophysical method to identify the location and geometry of active faults offshore and calculate their average long-term slip rates and maximum probable earthquake magnitude. Verification and validation of the methods will focus on the coastal area around the South Eufemia Gulf (Tyrrhenian side of the Calabrian Arc, Italy), an area of high ‘Seismogenic Faults’ relevance.
The expected scientific contributions of the project are the development of innovative geophysical methodologies that can be used: (1) to improve seismogenic fault modeling and active deformation modeling of offshore areas; (2) within Collaborative Project in the Cooperation Programme of the Seventh Framework Program of the European Commission and for updating the Italian ‘Database of Individual Seismogenic Sources.’ Furthermore, this project will contribute to develop geophysical methodology for the definition of ‘Probabilistic Long-Term Forecasting Models’ of offshore areas that uses geophysical data already acquired by marine research institutes over the last decades.
The joint project requires a strong collaboration between the researchers of the Italian and Israeli teams to compile an accurate plan for data sharing as well as to define a GIS-based software platform to realize a geophysical/geological database of the two investigated areas. Relevant seismic and bathymetric data will be shared for the use of both sides. An important role is the transfer of applied scientific methods both during the joint cruise onboard the Israeli R/V Bat-Galim and in the physical laboratory in Italy with the active participation of the Israeli researchers in the lab experiments. Results will be published in scientific journals and international conferences. Above all, the joint effort to create a methodology for improving earthquake forecasting will be of benefit for both countries.

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