In search of the seismogenic fault of the March 23rd 2018 earthquake (Mw 3.7) near Brindisi (Puglia, Southern Italy)

Main Article Content

Vincenzo Festa
Francesco De Giosa
Massimo Moretti
Vincenzo Del Gaudio
Pierpaolo Pierri


The portion of the southern Adriatic Sea, adjacent to the Murge area (Apulian Foreland, Southern Italy), is considered mainly aseismic. The recent March 23rd 2018 earthquake (Mw 3.7), occurred near Brindisi (Puglia Region), giving us occasion to reconsider data coming from different sources (instrumentally-recorded, historically-documented and palaeoseismologically-interpreted earthquakes), that suggest some moderate seismic shocks in this portion of the Adriatic Sea. The present study, based on the re-interpretation of public domain seismic profiles and exploration well logs available in the ViDEPI Project, has been focused on the recognition of faults with Quaternary activity in the epicentral area. A S-dipping fault, with a main dip-slip component of movement, is suggested to be the seismogenic source. Its geometry is consistent with the fault plane solution and the depth of the hypocenter calculated by the INGV (Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia).



Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

Original Scientific Papers


Amato, A., Bianchi, I. & Piana Agostinetti, N. (2014): Apulian crust: Top to bottom.- J. Geodyn., 82, 125-137. doi: 10.1016/j.jog.2014.09.007

Argnani, A., Frugoni, F., Cosi, R., Ligi, M. & Favali, P. (2001): Tectonics and seismicity of the Apulian Ridge south of the Salento penisula (Southern Italy).- Ann. Geofis., 44(3), 527-540.

Borgomano, J. (2000): The Upper Cretaceous carbonates of the Gargano-Murge region, southern Italy: A model to platform-to-basin transition.- AAPG Bull., 84(10), 1561-1588.

Brandano, M., Morsilli, M., Vannucci, G., Parente, M., Bosellini, F. & Mateu-Vicens, G. (2010): Rhodolith-rich lithofacies of the Porto Badisco Calcarenites (upper Chattian, Salento, southern Italy).- Ital. J. Geosci., 129(1), 119-131. doi: 10.3301/IJG.2009.10

Butler, R.W.H. (2009): Relationships between the Apennine thrust belt, foredeep and foreland revealed by marine seismic data, offshore Calabria.- Ital. J. Geosci., 128(2), 269-278. doi: 10.3301/IJG.2009.128.2.269

Chiarabba, C., Jovane, L. & Di Stefano, R. (2005): A new view of Italian seismicity using 20 years of instrumental recordings.- Tectonophysics, 395, 251-268. doi: 10.1016/j.tecto.2004.09.013

Chilovi, C., De Feyter, A.J. & Pompucci, A. (2000): Wrench zone reactivation in the Adriatic Block: the example of the Mattinata Fault System (SE Italy).- B. Soc. Geol. It., 119, 3-8.

Ciaranfi, N., Pieri, P. & Ricchetti, G. (1988): Note alla Carta Geologica delle Murge e del Salento (Puglia centromeridionale).- Mem. Soc. Geol. It., 41, 449-460.

de Alteriis, G. (1995): Different foreland basins in Italy: examples from the central and southern Adriatic Sea.- Tectonophysics, 252, 349-373. doi: 10.1016/0040-1951(95)00155-7

Del Gaudio, V., Festa, V., Ripa, R.R., Iurilli, V., Pierri, P., Calcagnile, G., Moretti, M., Pieri, P. & Tropeano, M. (2001): Evidence of Apulian crustal structures related to low energy seismicity (Murge - Southern Italy). Ann. Geofis., 44(5/6), 1049-1066.

Del Gaudio, V., Pierri, P., Calcagnile, G. & Venisti, N. (2005): Characteristics of the low energy seismicity of central Apulia (southern Italy) and hazard implications.- J. Seismol., 9, 39-59. doi: 10.1007/s10950-005-1593-9

Del Gaudio, V., Pierri, P., Frepoli, A., Calcagnile, G., Venisti, N. & Cimini, G.B. (2007): A critical revision of the seismicity of Northern Apulia (Adriatic microplate — Southern Italy) and implications for the identification of seismogenic structures.- Tectonophysics, 436, 9-35. doi: 10.1016/j.tecto.2007.02.013

de Lorenzo S., Romeo, A., Falco, L., Michele, M. & Tallarico, A. (2014): A first look at the Gargano (southern Italy) seismicity as seen by the local scale OTRIONS seismic network.- Ann. Geophys.-Italy, 57(4), 1-14. doi: 10.4401/ag-6594

Di Bucci, D., Caputo, R., Mastronuzzi, G., Fracassi, U., Selleri, G. & Sansò P. (2011): Quantitative analysis of extensional joints in the southern Adriatic foreland (Italy), and the active tectonics of the Apulia region.- J. Geodyn., 51, 141-155. doi: 10.1016/j.jog.2010.01.012

DISS Working Group (2018): Database of Individual Seismogenic Sources (DISS), Version 3.2.1: A compilation of potential sources for earthquakes larger than M 5.5 in Italy and surrounding areas.- Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia. doi: 10.6092/INGV.IT-DISS3.2.1

Doglioni, C., Mongelli, F. & Pieri, P. (1994): The Puglia uplift (SE Italy): An anomaly in the foreland of the Apenninic subduction due to buckling of a thick continental lithosphere.- Tectonics, 13, 1039-1321. doi: 10.1029/94TC01501

EMODnet (2017): European Marine Observation and data Network, Portal for Bathymetry (last upgrade).-

Fantoni, R. & Franciosi, R. (2010): Tectono-sedimentary setting of Po Plain and Adriatic foreland.- Rend. Lincei-Sci. Fis., 21(1), 197-209. doi: 10.1007/s12210-010-0102-4

Festa, V. (2003): Cretaceous structural features of the Murge area (Apulian Foreland, Southern Italy).- Eclogae Geol. Helv., 96, 11-22. doi: 10.5169/seals-169003

Finetti, I.R. & Del Ben A. (2005): Crustal tectono-stratigraphic setting of the Adriatic Sea from new CROP seismic data.- In: FINETTI I.R. (ed.): CROP Project: Deep Seismic Exploration of the Central Mediterranean and Italy. Elsevier, Amsterdam, 519-547.

Galli, P. (2000): New empirical relationships between magnitude and distance for liquefaction.- Tectonophysics, 324, 169–187. doi: 10.1016/S0040-1951(00)00118-9

Gerassimos, A., Papadopoulos, A. & Lefkopoulos, G. (1993): Magnitude-distance relations for liquefaction in soil from earthquakes.- B. Seismol. Soc. Am., 83(3), 925-938.

Groshong, R.H. (1989): Half-graben structures: Balanced models of extensional fault-bend folds.- Geol. Soc. Am. Bull., 101(1), 96-105. doi: 10.1130/0016-7606(1989)101<0096:HGSBMO>2.3.CO

Mastronuzzi, G. & Sansò, P. (2004): Large boulder accumulations by extreme waves along the Adriatic coast of southern Apulia (Italy).- Quatern Int., 120, 173 -184. doi: 10.1016/j.quaint.2004.01.016

Merlini, S., Cantarella, G. & Doglioni, C. (2000): On the seismic profile Crop M5 in the Ionian Sea.- B. Soc. Geol. It., 119, 227-236.

Morelli, D. (2002): Evoluzione tettonico-stratigrafica del Margine Adriatico compreso tra il Promontorio garganico e Brindisi.- Mem. Soc. Geol. It., 57, 343-353.

Moretti, M. (2000): Soft-sediment deformation structures interpreted as seismites in middle-late Pleistocene aeolian deposits.- Sediment. Geol., 135, 167-179. doi: 10.1016/S0037-0738(00)00070-1

Moretti, M., Alfaro, P. & Owen, G. (2016): The environmental significance of soft-sediment deformation structures: key signatures for sedimentary and tectonic processes.- Sediment. Geol., 344, 1-4. doi: 10.1016/j.sedgeo.2016.10.002

Moretti, M., Pieri, P. & Tropeano, M. (2002): Late Pleistocene soft-sediment deformation structures interpreted as seismites in paralic deposits in the City of Bari (Apulian foreland - Southern Italy).- Geol. S. Am. S., 359, 75-85. doi: 10.1130/0-8137-2359-0.75

Moretti, M., van Loon, A.J., LIU, M. & WANG, Y. (2014): Restrictions to the application of 'diagnostic' criteria for recognizing ancient seismites.- Journal of Palaeogeography, 3, 162-173. doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1261.2014.00050

Morsilli, M., Hairabian, A., Borgomano, J., Nardon, S., Adams, E. & Gartner, G.B. (2017): The Apulia Carbonate Platform-Gargano Promontory, Italy (Upper Jurassic-Eocene).- AAPG Bull., 101(4), 523-531. doi: 10.1306/011817DIG17031

Patacca, E. & Scandone, P. (2004): The 1627 Gargano earthquake (Southern Italy): Identification and characterization of the causative fault.- J. Seismol., 8, 259-273. doi: 10.1023/B:JOSE.0000021393.77543.1e

Pieri, P., Festa, V., Moretti, M. & Tropeano, M. (1997): Quaternary tectonic activity of the Murge area (Apulian foreland - Southern Italy).- Ann. Geofis., 40(5), 1395-1404.

Pierri, P., de Lorenzo, S. & Calcagnile, G. (2013): Analysis of the Low-Energy Seismic Activity in the Southern Apulia (Italy). OJER, 2, 91-105. doi: 10.4236/ojer.2013.24010

puglia.con (2015): Conoscenza condivisa per il governo del territorio (last upgrade).-

Ricchetti, G., Ciaranfi, N., Luperto Sinni, E., Mongelli, F. & Pieri, P. (1988): Geodinamica ed evoluzione sedimentaria e tettonica dell’Avampaese Apulo.- Mem. Soc. Geol. It., 41, 57‒82.

Spalluto, L., Pieri, P. & Ricchetti, G. (2005): Le facies carbonatiche di piattaforma interna del Promontorio del Gargano: implicazioni paleoambientali e correlazioni con la coeva successione delle Murge.- B. Soc. Geol. It., 124, 675–690.

Tondi, E., Piccardi, L., Cacon, S., Kontny, B. & Cello, G. (2005): Structural and time constraints for dextral shear along the seismogenic Mattinata Fault (Gargano, southern Italy).- J. Geodyn., 40, 134-152. doi: 10.1016/j.jog.2005.07.003

Tropeano, M., Pieri, P., Moretti, M., Festa, V., Calcagnile, G., Del Gaudio V. & Pierri, P. (1997): Quaternary tectonics and seismotectonic features of the Murge area (Apulian foreland, SE Italy). Il Quaternario, 10(2), 543-548.

Tropeano, M. & Sabato, L. (2000): Response of Plio-Pleistocene mixed bioclastic-lithoclastic temperate-water carbonate systems to forced regressions: the Calcarenite di Gravina Formation, Puglia, SE Italy.- In: Hunt, D. & Gawthorpe, R.L. (eds.): Sedimentary Responses to Forced Regressions. Geol. Soc. Spec. Publ., 172, 217–243. doi: 10.1144/GSL.SP.2000.172.01.11

Tropeano, M., Spalluto, L., Moretti, M., Pieri, P. & Sabato, L. (2004): Depositi carbonatici infrapleistocenici di tipo foramol in sistemi di scarpata (Salento – Italia meridionale).- Il Quaternario, 17(2), 537-546.

VIDEPI (2015): Progetto ViDEPI, Visibilità dei dati afferenti all’attività di esplorazione petrolifera in Italia (last upgrade).-

Zappaterra, E. (1994): Source-rock distribution model of the periadriatic region.- AAPG Bull., 78, 333-354.