Earth and Planetary Science
EPS Atmosphere, Oceans, and Climate

Berkeley Seismologists Look at Triggered Landslides of the 2016 6.2 Amatrice Earthquake in Italy

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Mong-Han Huang and Douglas Dreger are co-authors of “Coseismic deformation and triggered landslides of the 2016 Mw 6.2 Amatrice earthquake in Italy.” The article came out on 4 February 2017 in Geophysical Research Letters.

The Central Apennines in Italy have had multiple moderate-size but damaging shallow earthquakes. In this study, the researchers optimize the fault geometry and invert for fault slip based on coseismic GPS and interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) for the 2016 Mw 6.2 Amatrice earthquake in Italy. Their results show that nearly all the fault slip occurred between 3 and 6 km depth but extends 20 km along strike. There was less than 4 cm static surface displacement at the town Amatrice where the most devastating damage occurred. Landslides triggered by earthquake ground shaking are not uncommon, but triggered landslides with submeter movement are challenging to be observed in the field. The authors find evidence of coseismically triggered deep-seated landslides northwest and northeast of the epicenter where coseismic peak ground acceleration was estimated >0.5 g. By combining ascending and descending InSAR data, we are able to estimate the landslide thickness as at least 100 and 80 m near Monte Vettore and west of Castelluccio, respectively. The landslide near Monte Vettore terminates on the preexisting fault Monte Vettore Fault (MVEF) scarp. Their results imply that the long-term fault slip rate of MVEF estimated based on paleoseismic studies could potentially have errors due to triggered landslides from nearby earthquake events.

Mong-Han Huang received his PhD at Berkeley under the supervision of Prof. Roland Burgmann in 2014 and is currently a NASA postdoc fellow at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Caltech. Doug Dreger is professor in the Berkeley Earth & Planetary Science Department. He is broadly interested in waveform data to investigate seismic source; wave propagation; and Earth structure problems.

For the full-length article please click here.