Breaking barriers and halting rupture: the 2016 Amatrice-Visso-Castelluccio earthquake sequence, central Italy
In 2016 the Central Italian Apennines was struck by a sequence of normal faulting earthquakes that ruptured in three separate events on the 24th August (Mw 6.2), the 26th Oct (Mw 6.1), and the 30th Oct (Mw 6.6). We reveal the complex nature of the individual events and the time-evolution of the sequence using multiple datasets. We will present an overview of the results from field geology, satellite geodesy, GNSS (including low-cost short baseline installations), and terrestrial laser scanning (TLS). Sequences of earthquakes of mid to high magnitude 6 are common in historical and seismological records in Italy and other similar tectonic settings globally. Multi-fault rupture during these sequences can occur in seconds, as in the M 6.9 1980 Irpinia earthquake, or can span days, months, or years (e.g. the 1703 Norcia-L’Aquila sequence). It is critical to determine why the causative faults in the 2016 sequence did not rupture simultaneously, and how this relates to fault segmentation and structural barriers. This is the first sequence of this kind to be observed using modern geodetic techniques, and only with all of the datasets combined can we begin to understand how and why the sequence evolved in time and space. We show that earthquake rupture both broke through structural barriers that were thought to exist, but was also inhibited by a previously unknown structure. We will also discuss the logistical challenges in generating datasets on the time-evolving sequence, and show how rapid response and international collaboration within the Open EMERGEO Working Group was critical for gaining a complete picture of the ongoing activity.