Ultrashallow seismic imaging of the causative fault of the 1980, M6.9, southern Italy earthquake by pre-stack depth migration of dense wide-aperture data



[1] A two-step imaging procedure, including pre-stack depth migration (PSDM) and non-linear multiscale refraction tomography, was applied to dense wide-aperture data with the aim of imaging the causative fault of the 1980, M6.9, Irpinia normal faulting earthquake in a very complex geologic environment. PSDM is often ineffective for ultrashallow imaging (100 m of depth and less) of laterally heterogeneous media because of the difficulty in estimating a correct velocity model for migration. Dense wide-aperture profiling allowed us to build accurate velocity models across the fault zone by multiscale tomography and to record wide-angle reflections from steep reflectors. PSDM provided better imaging with respect to conventional post-stack depth migration, and improved definition of fault geometry and apparent cumulative displacement. Results indicate that this imaging strategy can be very effective for near-surface fault detection and characterization. Fault location and geometry are in agreement with paleoseismic data from two nearby trenches. The estimated vertical fault throw is only 29–38 m. This value, combined with the vertical slip rate determined by trench data, suggests a young age (97–127 kyr) of fault inception.