Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Dual control of fault intersections on stop-start rupture in the 2016 Central Italy seismic sequence

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Max WilkinsonORCiD, Dr Jinju Chen, Professor Zhenhong Li



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2018 The Author(s). Large continental earthquakes necessarily involve failure of multiple faults or segments. But these same critically-stressed systems sometimes fail in drawn-out sequences of smaller earthquakes over days or years instead. These two modes of failure have vastly different implications for seismic hazard and it is not known why fault systems sometimes fail in one mode or the other, or what controls the termination and reinitiation of slip in protracted seismic sequences. A paucity of modern observations of seismic sequences has hampered our understanding to-date, but a series of three Mw>6 earthquakes from August to November 2016 in Central Italy represents a uniquely well-observed example. Here we exploit a wealth of geodetic, seismological and field data to understand the spatio-temporal evolution of the sequence. Our results suggest that intersections between major and subsidiary faults controlled the extent and termination of rupture in each event in the sequence, and that fluid diffusion, channelled along these same fault intersections, may have also determined the timing of rupture reinitiation. This dual control of subsurface structure on the stop-start rupture in seismic sequences may be common; future efforts should focus on investigating its prevalence.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Walters RJ, Gregory LC, Wedmore LNJ, Craig TJ, McCaffrey K, Wilkinson M, Chen J, Li Z, Elliott JR, Goodall H, Iezzi F, Livio F, Michetti AM, Roberts G, Vittori E

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Earth and Planetary Science Letters

Year: 2018

Volume: 500

Pages: 1-14

Print publication date: 15/10/2018

Online publication date: 09/08/2018

Acceptance date: 29/07/2018

Date deposited: 20/08/2018

ISSN (print): 0012-821X

ISSN (electronic): 1385-013X

Publisher: Elsevier BV


DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2018.07.043

Notes: Highly cited paper in WoS.


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric


Funder referenceFunder name