The 20 May 2012 M = 6.1 earthquake that struck the Emilia region of northern Italy illustrates a common problem afflicting earthquake hazard assessment. It occurred in an area classified as “low seismic hazard” based on the current national seismic hazard map (Gruppo di Lavoro, Redazione della mappa di pericolosità sismica, rapporto conclusivo, 2004, http://zonesismiche.mi.ingv.it/mappa_ps_apr04/italia.html) adopted in 2006. That revision of the seismic code was motivated by the 2002 M = 5.7 earthquake that struck S. Giuliano di Puglia in central Italy, also a previously classified low-hazard area, resulting in damage and casualties. Previous code was updated in 1981–1984 after earlier maps missed the 1980 M = 6.5 Irpinia earthquake.
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