Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 97–118 | Cite as

Site effects observed in the Norcia intermountain basin (Central Italy) exploiting a 20-year monitoring

  • L. LuziEmail author
  • M. D’Amico
  • M. Massa
  • R. Puglia
Original Research


This work aims to analyse the response to ground shaking of the Norcia intermountain basin (central Italy), where a temporary seismic network (Pilz and Parolai in Norcia basin (Italy) temporary seismic network. GFZ Data Services., 2009) was installed from January to May 2009, during the L’Aquila (Mw 6.1) seismic sequence. Here we present the results of the application of various empirical approaches for the evaluation of local site effects, considering hundreds of records relevant to earthquakes in the local magnitude range 3.0–5.4. The site amplification was estimated considering either the standard spectral-ratio (SSRs, Borcherdt in Bull Seismol Soc Am 60:29–61, 1970) or the horizontal to vertical spectral-ratio technique (HVSRs, Lermo and Chavez-Garcia in Bull Seismol Soc Am 83:1501–1506, 1993) techniques, applied to the S-phase and the S-wave coda of selected earthquakes. The results evidence the amplification of both horizontal and vertical components of ground motion at frequencies spanning from about 0.5 Hz, in the deepest part of the basin, to 4 Hz at basin edges. HVSRs show lower amplitudes than SSRs, due to the amplification of the vertical component, highlighting as the single station spectral technique, suitable to estimate the fundamental resonance frequency of the sites, is not able to reliably describe the actual seismic response. Considering the shape of the basin, possible predominant amplification with particular direction are investigated by rotated SSRs that allow to evidence in the central part of the studied area a prevailing amplification of the S-train waves along the 140°N direction. Finally, the generation of surface waves within the basin was investigated by the Multiple Filter Technique analysis (MFT, Dziewonski et al. in Bull Seismol Soc Am 59:427–444, 1969), estimating the backazimuth of the identified surface waves using the method proposed by Baker and Stevens (Geophys Res Lett 31:L09611, 2004. In particular, the favourable conditions for the generation of surface waves inside the basin, have been evaluated by comparing records relevant to earthquakes with different sources and magnitudes recorded in the last twenty-year by the permanent NRC accelerometric station.


Norcia Site amplification Basin-effects Spectral techniques Surface waves Central Italy 



The Norcia monitoring in 2009 has been carried out thanks to the project S4 “Italian strong motion database”, in the framework of the agreement between the Italian Department of Civil Protection and Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica and Vulcanologia (2007–2009). The dataset is available on request to Special thanks are due to the population of Norcia, who allowed the authors to host the seismic stations.


  1. Abraham JR, Lai CG, Papageorgiou A (2015) Basin-effects observed during the 2012 Emilia earthquake sequence in Northern Italy. Soil Dyn Earthq Eng 78:230–242CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aki K, Larner K (1970) Surface motion of a layered medium having an irregular interface due to incident plane SH waves. J Geophys Res 75:933–954CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Amato A, Azzara R, Chiarabba C, Cimini GB, Cocco M, Di Bona M, Margheriti L, Mazza S, Mele F, Selvaggi G, Basili A, Boschi E, Courboulex F, Deschamps A, Gaffet S, Bittarelli G, Chiaraluce L, Piccinini D, Ripepe M (1998) The 1997 Umbria-Marche, Italy, earthquake sequence: a first look at the main shocks and aftershocks. Geophys Res Lett 25(15):2861–2864CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baker GE, Stevens JL (2004) Backazimuth estimation reliability using surface wave polarization. Geophys Res Lett 31:L09611. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bindi D, Parolai S, Cara F, Di Giulio G, Ferretti G, Luzi L, Monachesi G, Pacor F, Rovelli A (2009) Site amplifications observed in the Gubbio Basin, Central Italy: hints for lateral propagation effects. Bull Seismol Soc Am 99:741–760CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bindi D, Luzi L, Parolai S, Di Giacomo D, Monachesi G (2011) Site effects observed in alluvial basins: the case of Norcia (Central Italy). Bull Earthq Eng 9(6):1941–1959. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Blumetti AM (1995) Neotectonic investigations and evidence of paleoseismicity in the epicentral area of the January–February 1703, central Italy, earthquakes. In: Serva L, Slemmons DB (eds) Perspectives in paleosismology. Ass. of Eng. Geol., spec. publ., vol 6, 83–100Google Scholar
  8. Bohm G, Luzi L, Galadini F (2011) Tomographic depth seismic velocity model below the plain of Norcia (Italy) for site effect studies. Boll Geofis Teorica Appl. Google Scholar
  9. Boore DM, Larner KL, Aki K (1971) Comparison of two independent methods for the solution of wave-scattering problems: response of a sedimentary basin to vertically incident SH waves. J Geophys Res 76:558–569CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Borcherdt RD (1970) Effects of local geology on ground motion near San Francisco Bay. Bull Seismol Soc Am 60:29–61Google Scholar
  11. Chávez-García FJ, Stephenson WR, Rodríguez M (1999) Lateral propagation effects observed at Parkway, New Zealand. A case history to compare 1D versus 2D site effects. Bull Seismol Soc Am 89:718–732Google Scholar
  12. Chiarabba C, Amato A, Anselmi M, Baccheschi P, Bianchi I, Cattaneo M, Cecere G, Chiaraluce L, Ciaccio MG, De Gori P, De Luca G, Di Bona M, Di Stefano R, Faenza L, Govoni A, Improta L, Lucente FP, Marchetti A, Margheriti L, Mele F, Michelini A, Monachesi G, Moretti M, Pastori M, Piana Agostinetti N, Piccinini D, Roselli P, Seccia D, Valoroso L (2009) The 2009 L’Aquila (central Italy) MW6.3 earthquake: main shock and aftershocks. Geophys Res Lett 36:L18308. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Chiaraluce L, Di Stefano R, Tinti E, Scognamiglio L, Michele M, Casarotti E, Cattaneo M, De Gori P, Chiarabba C, Monachesi G, Lombardi A, Valoroso L, Latorre D, Marzorati S (2017) The 2016 Central Italy seismic sequence: a first look at the mainshocks, aftershocks, and source models. Seismol Res Lett 88(3):757–771. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. D’Agostino N, Giuliani R, Mattone M, Bonci L (2001) Active crustal extension in the central Apennines (Italy) inferred from GPS measurements in the interval 1994–1999. Geophys Res Lett 28:2121–2124CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Di Giulio G, Rovelli A, Cara F, Azzara RM, Marra F, Basili R, Caserta A (2003) Long-duration asynchronous ground motions in the Colfiorito plain, central Italy, observed on a two-dimensional dense array. J Geophys Res 108(B10):2486. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dziewonski A, Bloch S, Landisman M (1969) A technique for the analysis of transient seismic signals. Bull Seismol Soc Am 59:427–444Google Scholar
  17. Foti S, Parolai S, Bergamo P, Di Giulio G, Maraschini M, Milana G, Picozzi M, Puglia R (2011) Surface wave surveys for seismic site characterization of accelerometric stations in ITACA. Bull Earthq Eng 9(6):1797–1820. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Frankel A, Hough SE, Friberg P, Busby R (1991) Observations of Loma Prieta aftershocks from a dense array in Sunnyvale, California. Bull Seismol Soc Am 00(5):1900–1922Google Scholar
  19. Galadini F, Galli P (2000) Active tectonics in the Central Apennines (Italy)—input data for seismic hazard assessment. Nat Hazards 22:225–270CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Galadini F, Galli P, Leschiutta I, Monachesi G, Stucchi M (1999) Active tectonics and seismicity in the area of the 1997 earthquake sequence in central Italy: a short review. J Seismol 3:167–175CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Galadini F, Messina P, Giaccio B, Sposato A (2003) Early uplift history of the Abruzzi Apennines (central Italy): available geomorphological constraints. Quatern Int 101(102):125–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Galli P, Galadini F, Calzoni F (2005) Surface faulting in Norcia (central Italy): a “paleoseismological perspective”. Tectonophysics 403:117–130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Galli P, Castenetto S, Peronace E (2017) The macroseismic intensity distribution of the 30 October 2016 earthquake in central Italy (Mw 6.6): seismotectonic implications. Tectonics 36:2179–2191. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Graves RW, Pitarka A, Somerville PG (1998) Ground-motion amplification in the Santa Monica area: effects of shallow basin-edge structure. Bull Seismol Soc Am 88:1224–1242Google Scholar
  25. Haghshenas E, Bard PY, Theodulidis N (2008) Empirical evaluation of microtremor H/V spectral ratio. Bull Earthq Eng 6(1):75–108. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hanks TC (1975) Strong ground motion of the San Fernando, California earthquake: ground displacements. Bull Seismol Soc Am 65:193–225Google Scholar
  27. Kawase H (1996) The cause of the damage belt in Kobe: ‘the basin edge effect’, constructive interference of the direct S-wave with the basin induced diffracted/Rayleigh waves. Seismol Res Lett 67(5):25–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Konno K, Ohmachi T (1998) Ground-motion characteristic estimated from spectral ratio between horizontal and vertical components of microtremor. Bull Seismol Soc Am 88:228–241Google Scholar
  29. Lermo J, Chavez-Garcia FJ (1993) Site effect evaluation using spectral ratios with only one station. Bull Seismol Soc Am 83:1501–1506Google Scholar
  30. Liu HL, Heaton TH (1984) Array analysis of the ground velocities and accelerations from the 1971 San Fernando California earthquake. Bull Seismol Soc Am 74:1951–1968Google Scholar
  31. Locati M, Camassi R, Rovida A, Ercolani E, Bernardini F, Castelli V, Caracciolo CH, Tertulliani A, Rossi A, Azzaro R, D’Amico S, Conte S, Rocchetti E (2016) DBMI15, the 2015 version of the Italian Macroseismic Database. Ist Naz Geofis Vulcanol. Google Scholar
  32. Luzi L, Pacor F, Ameri G, Puglia R, Burrato P, Massa M, Augliera P, Franceschina G, Lovati S, Castro R (2013) Overview on the strong motion data recorded during the May–June 2012 Emilia seismic sequence. Seismol Res Lett 84(4):629–644CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Luzi L, Pacor F, Puglia R, Lanzano G, Felicetta C, D’Amico M, Michelini A, Faenza L, Lauciani V, Iervolino I, Baltzopoulos G, Chioccarelli E (2017) The Central Italy seismic sequence between August and December 2016: analysis of strong-motion observations. Seismol Res Lett 88:1219–1231. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Paolucci R, Pacor F, Puglia R, Ameri G, Cauzzi C, Massa M (2011) Record processing in ITACA, the new Italian strong motion database. In: Akkar S, Gulkan P, Van Eck T (eds) Earthquake data in engineering seismology. Geotechnical, Geological and Earthquake Engineering Series, vol 14. Springer, Berlin, pp 99–113Google Scholar
  35. Parolai S, Cara F, Bindi D, Pacor F (2009) Empirical site-specific response-spectra correction factors for the Gubbio basin (central Italy). Soil Dyn Earth Eng 29:546–552CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Pilz M, Parolai S (2009) Norcia basin (Italy) temporary seismic network. GFZ Data Services.
  37. Pitarka A, Irikura K, Iwata T, Sekiguchi H (1998) Three dimensional simulation of the near-fault ground motion for the 1995 Hyogoken Nanbu (Kobe), Japan, earthquake. Bull Seismol Soc Am 88:428–440Google Scholar
  38. Puglia R, Ditommaso R, Pacor F, Mucciarelli M, Luzi L, Bianca M (2011) Frequency variation in site response as observed from strong motion data of the L’Aquila (2009) seismic sequence. Bull Earthq Eng 9(3):869–892. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Rautian TG, Khalturin VI (1978) The use of the coda for determination of the earthquake source spectrum. Bull Seismol Soc Am 68:923–948Google Scholar
  40. Rovelli A, Scognamiglio L, Marra F, Caserta A (2001) Edge-diffracted 1-sec surface waves observed in a small-size intramountain basin (Colfiorito, Central Italy). Bull Seismol Soc Am 91(6):1851–1866CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Sawazaki K, Sato H, Nakahara H, Nishimura T (2009) Time-lapse changes of seismic velocity in the shallow ground caused by strong ground motion shock of the 2000 Western-Tottori Earthquake, Japan, as revealed from coda deconvolution analysis. Bull Seismol Soc Am 99(1):352–366CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. SESAME (2004) Guidelines for the implementation of the H/V spectral ratio technique on ambient vibrations: measurements, processing and interpretation (Deliverable No. D23.12), WP12. SESAME European research projectGoogle Scholar
  43. Trifunac MD (1971) Surface motion of a semi-cylindrical alluvial valley for incident plane SH waves. Bull Seismol Soc Am 61:1755–1770Google Scholar
  44. Wang GQ, Tang GQ, Boore DM, Van Ness Burbach G, Jackson CR, Zhou XY, Lin QL (2006) Surface waves in the Western Taiwan Coastal Plain from an aftershock of the 1999 Chi-Chi, Taiwan, earthquake. Bull Seismol Soc Am. Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e VulcanologiaMilanItaly

Personalised recommendations