Detailed Surface Rupture Geometry from the 2016 Amatrice Earthquake
The Amatrice earthquake was generated by co-rupture of the Mt. Vettore and Laga faults at depth. Surface ruptures were observed for ~5km along the Mt. Vettore fault, with no clear observations on the Laga fault reported to date. The surface rupture on Mt. Vettore manifests as a 15-20cm pale stripe at the base of a 60-80o dipping bedrock fault scarp and similar magnitude vertical offsets of colluvial deposits. We have measured the strike and dip of the fault alongside the coseismic throw, heave, and slip azimuth along the length of the rupture with high spatial resolution (c.2-6m, >2000 measurements). The slip azimuth is relatively constant between 210-270° even where the rupture faces uphill at its SE termination which is consistent with the regional NW-SE extension direction, defined by focal mechanisms and borehole break-out data. The simplest coseismic throw profile that would be expected is quasi-symmetric. However we found the highest values of throw (Inter Quartile Range 15-19.5cm) are skewed towards the NW end on a 1.7 km section of the fault that is oblique relative to the overall fault strike. In the centre of the rupture, orientated close to the overall fault strike, the throw is lower (IQR 7.5-13cm) and discontinuous along strike. We suggest that the skewed throw profile occurs because the strike, dip and throw must vary systematically in order to preserve the principal strain rate across a fault, in agreement with previous publications. The density of our measurements, crucially including the slip azimuth, allows us to resolve the regional debate over whether normal fault ruptures are primary tectonic features or landslides of hangingwall sediments. If the surface offsets are due to landslides, then the slip azimuth should correlate with the downslope direction of the hangingwall. We show using an available 10m DEM that this is not the case and hence the surface offsets described herein are a primary tectonic feature. This presentation offers new insights into rupture processes because of the high resolution of the dataset collected rapidly after the earthquake, but crucially because it includes the slip vector azimuth, allowing a full description of the kinematics of the faulting relative to the regional stress field and local topographic variations.